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Realignment leaves Leafs coach Carlyle scratching his head

Sep 16, 2013, 1:10 PM EDT

Randy Carlyle AP

Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle is no big fan of realignment.

Or, at the very least, he’s confused by it.

“It makes it more difficult for us to qualify for the playoffs,” Carlyle said today, per the Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle. “It makes you scratch your head – why is that?”

Starting this season, the Leafs will be in the Atlantic Division with seven other teams — the Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, and Tampa Bay Lightning.

There will be one other eight-team division (the Metropolitan Division) in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, the Western Conference will be comprised of two seven-team divisions, the Central and the Pacific.

Eight teams from each conference will make the playoffs.

So Carlyle does have a point — if the Leafs are to qualify for the postseason, they’ll have to beat out more teams than their Western Conference counterparts.

If it were up to Carlyle, he’d probably have kept Detroit in the West; however, Wings ownership had for years been pushing the league for a move to the East (for good reason).

Columbus is the other team that moved from the West to the East as part of realignment, with Winnipeg going the opposite way.

If it makes Carlyle feel any better, we hear the Pacific Division might have a new team soon.


  1. nj666 - Sep 16, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    He’s right, its this type of playoff format that allowed the then horrible seatle seahawks into the playoffs about three seasons ago.

    • Jason Brough - Sep 16, 2013 at 1:15 PM

      Hey, come on now. Aren’t you glad you saw this?

    • seattle2toronto12thmanconnection - Sep 16, 2013 at 9:37 PM

      You mean the horrible Seattle Seahawks who beat the defending Super Bowl champs?

      You probably think Mark Sanchez is a good QB too huh.

  2. 950003cups - Sep 16, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    Welcome to the NHL your new Seattle Starbucks and Quebec Quoffes

    • killerpgh - Sep 16, 2013 at 5:44 PM

      So who goes West since Qubec be in the East of most “eastern” teams?

      • killerpgh - Sep 16, 2013 at 6:20 PM

        Apparently typing isn’t my strong point. Quebec is more East than most Eastern conference teams.

  3. multiplemiggs - Sep 16, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    I said it all along these divisions are terrible. They make no sense. I dont know why everyone thinks Pittsburgh is “metropolitan” its nowhere near new york and philthydelphia. Dont even get me started on Colombus. They should be in that crappy wierd leafs division.

    • kaptaanamerica - Sep 16, 2013 at 2:54 PM

      Wrong it’s not “leafs division”, the Bruins will own it for awhile if Peter chiarelli has anything to say about it, all while the Senators are lurking in the shadows.

      I predicted it already and will do so again, the leafs will not make the playoffs…

      • endusersolutions2013 - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:36 PM

        Bruins and Sens are most likely in that division, leaving the Leafs, Habs and Wings to contend for the other two. I’ve seen three “professional” hockey writers come up with three different rankings.

    • bonzopookie - Sep 16, 2013 at 4:37 PM

      sigh…I wish Glen Metropolit played in the Metropolitan division.

  4. beelza - Sep 16, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    Ah, this is Randy laying the foundation for the Leafs missing the playoffs.

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Sep 16, 2013 at 10:04 PM

      Exactly. Not like the Leafs are playing any more or less games than anyone else. The more games you win, the more likely you make the playoffs.

  5. elvispocomo - Sep 16, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    Excuses even before the season starts. Ok, calm down, I’m kidding.

    But it was proposed to be two 8 team divisions in the West conference initially, so what can you do? I agree it needs to end up being even numbered sooner than later, and that means either two expansion teams or two contractions, but it is what it is.

    • killerpgh - Sep 16, 2013 at 5:48 PM

      Why couldn’t they just keep 15 in each and use the same “wild card” system if the 5th place teams that misses has more points than the 4th place team in the of division of the same conference? Problem solved. At least until expansion.

  6. canucks30 - Sep 16, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    I’m sorry, but other than the Bruins and the Red Wings I’m not sure what he’s so worried about in his Divison. No disrespect to the other teams but the Atlantic pales in comparison to the Metropolitan (man that’s a dumb name.)

    • sunderlanding - Sep 16, 2013 at 2:40 PM

      They are all stupid names. East, West, Atlantic, Pacific, Central? Are sports fans really so stupid that we can’t figure out what part of the country a city is in? Go back to the hockey names.

    • kaptaanamerica - Sep 16, 2013 at 2:58 PM

      It’s because of comments like that that you give Canucks fans a bad rep.the Senators are one of the most dangerous teams on the upswing.Eric karlsson is the best player in the league when not playing injured.

      The Habs won their division last season, so there is that…

      • canucks30 - Sep 16, 2013 at 4:07 PM

        The Habs were also the worst team in the Conference 2 seasons ago and the Senators lost Alfredsson who isn’t as productive as Bobby Ryan but means more in that locker room for his leadership and experience.

        I call it like I see it.

        As for the Canucks they are going to have a hard time themselves dealing with LA, San Jose, and Anaheim on a more regular basis.

        Maybe take the rose-coloured glasses off.

  7. Randy - Sep 16, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    The Leafs rarely made the playoffs in recent years under the old scheme. Don’t blame the Division structure if they don’t make the playoffs in the next 5 years. It’s about talent and coaching, not alignment.

  8. 48colorrainbow - Sep 16, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    I would think the Panthers and Lightning have a much greater uphill climb to the playoffs under this new alignment than the Maple Leafs.

  9. jpelle82 - Sep 16, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    i understand the complaint and sympathize a little bit with winnipeg and detroit. its obvious it was done this way to allow expansion in the west but those things are probably years away. detroit has been dealing with it for years and had been successful the whole time, it didnt have to be done so soon as to punish the east for a couple years while the league plays out its what-if scenarios regarding expansion.

    • kaptaanamerica - Sep 16, 2013 at 3:01 PM

      The wings and their fans didn’t deserve to wait any longer.they paid their dues and more helping teams sell out buildings regularly. Fans around the league should see their team play in their own time zone add much add possible.

  10. tmoore4075 - Sep 16, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    Cause that’s what the NHL should have been thinking about…Will this make it tougher for the Leafs to make the playoffs.

    As someone said originally it was going to be two divisions/conferences of 8 in the West. They wanted the playoffs to be more in timezone for a number of reasons so with 30 teams you were going to have two divisions of 8 somewhere. Whether that be two in one conference or spread out over the two and that’s not any better. Once they expand it’ll even everything out.

  11. Lupy Nazty Philthy - Sep 16, 2013 at 4:46 PM

    He’s not wrong or making excuses… but the Leaf-haters would have to read the entire article, and not just the headline to know that.

    Based purely on math, it’s easier to make the playoffs in the West than the East. You actually have better odds of making the playoffs than missing the playoffs in the West. In the East it’s 50-50.

    They could have left it even by keeping Columbus in the west for the time being, but in the end it’s not that big of a deal. Sounds like Bettman wants to expand the league in the not too distant future. Things will even out eventually.

  12. Jeff - Sep 16, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    Metropolitan?! What a stupid name for a division. The NHL and its players have their collective head up their collective … well, where the sun don’t shine.
    And the Red Wings are west of Columbus but play in the more eastern Atlantic Division. Did the NFL design these divisions or what?! I thought only the NFL was stupid enough to do something like this, like putting the Indianapolis Colts in the South or the Dallas Cowboys in the East.

  13. kingsforever - Sep 16, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    Metropolitan division = the No One Cares Division.

  14. channelguy - Sep 16, 2013 at 7:57 PM

    There are good reasons why Detroit wanted to, and finally got to move east. Columbus is a different matter. In the east, they are the red headed stepchild. They have NO strong rivalries in the east, and looking at their conference, I find it hard to see them developing any. Detroit? Im sure Detroit is more focused on renewing some of their more historical rivalries, and they instantly have a good new one with Ottawa. Nashville is really the best rival, and now they are in the other conference. Columbus won’t like it, but I really can’t see them staying in the east. The existing system is just TOO discriminatory to the eastern divisions, and if any teams are narrowly eliminated, they and the media will squawk and squawk, with some reason.

    • 48colorrainbow - Sep 17, 2013 at 1:39 PM

      “Columbus is a different matter. In the east, they are the red headed stepchild. They have NO strong rivalries in the east, and looking at their conference, I find it hard to see them developing any.”


  15. multiplemiggs - Sep 16, 2013 at 8:43 PM

    this guy thinks Quebec is getting a team L! O! L!

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