Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Realignment Revisited (And Apparently Leaked)

We got a better idea of what the NHL has in mind in terms of realignment... more specifically, the answers about how the Playoffs will be done.

At least according to a memo leaked to the hockey media, anyway.

Under this proposal (tentatively, anyway) the top three teams in each division -- since we are apparently keeping a two-conference, four-division format -- are in the Playoffs. Then, each conference will also have two wild cards from what's left. Team-wise, the divisions have the teams as they were discussed over the weekend.

The Wild Card concept will apparently address the concern that the top-four-in-each-conference concept would leave more deserving teams on the outside looking in on that since the conferences are uneven.

Honestly, I think I like it. The top three in each division thing is a little strange, but I suppose it's workable. I could definitely see where the previous "top four" proposal would bug people. If you have a particularly weak division where the fourth place team could be sub-. 500, and you have someone in the other division that's 5 to 7 games above .500 not making the playoffs... sure, I would be irked.

Still, top three in each division making the playoffs is kind of odd. Why not just the top two in each, and determine the last four by record? Still, it's pretty reasonable, overall.

It gives Columbus some leeway. It's perfectly reasonable to assume that Boston, Detroit and possibly Tampa could essentially steamroll the rest of the Not-Really-Central Division, giving Columbus a chance to grab a wild-card spot while acclimating themselves to what is looking like the tougher division in the Eastern conference.

[Memo to NHL: Please bring back cool-sounding Division names like "Patrick" and "Smythe."]
Of course, it's pretty premature to discuss this -- or a Blue Jackets Playoff berth -- as though it is official.

Still, the speculation makes for interesting conversation around the table. Or the Cannon.

Guess we will find out soon, with the NHL Board of Governors and the players' union expected to vote on it sometime soon.

I just wish people didn't have to talk the players union so damn much.

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