Per the Post-Gazette this morning, the below four division re-alignment has been proposed:
That is simply asinine.
Just a wee bit of moving, and you have some much more sane alignments, keeping the East and West, each with three five-team divisions. Here's what I propose:
New York Islanders
To say the Flyers and Penguins hate each other is an understatement. To say that everybody hates the Devils is also an understatement. This makes geographic sense. Also, these are traditionally working class fan bases. Think of this as the Blue Collar Division. It fits for so many reasons.
New York Rangers
Again, there is great antipathy between the Bruins and the Rangers, and the Bruins and the Canadiens, between the Leafs and the Canadiens. And, you put four of the original six in one division. They've been hating on each other for ages. They've been hating on each other since Teddy Roosevelt was rough-riding. Every arena for every single inter-divisional game will be rocking with blood lust. How fantastic is that?
Hey, Columbus is in southern Ohio. Also, it's much further east than Winnipeg, so finally Columbus comes to the eastern division. It's not as exciting a division as the first two, but it's not my fault that Columbus, Florida and Carolina pack very little natural buzz.
You have to keep Detroit and Chicago together. It is a moral imperative. Somehow, Minnesota fits for me with this group -- the Great Lakes Division (except Nashville -- but the Preds had to go somewhere.)
With four Canadian teams, this might be the most fun division in hockey. I expect riots. Behave yourselves Canucks fans.
As an eastern conference habitue, I don't have much feeling for these teams. None have a really storied tradition. None are Canadian. But this at least makes geographic sense. If the fans want drama, they'll have to generate it themselves. I do understand that there's some serious enmity between the Kings and the Sharks, so that's a good thing.
There ya go. Simple. Easy. Geographically sane, if not ideal. And it preserves some of the game's best rivalries. Who do you trust? Me? Or this guy?