|Earlier this evening, a story was leaked on TSN that describes a major overhaul of the NHL. It's not just a facelift -- it's more like a full body job. And it would leave the NHL with a distinctly NBA look... and give the framework for expansion into two more cities.
Highlights of the proposal apparently include:
..... two divisions in each of the Eastern and Western Conferences (instead of three)
..... there would be one, eight-team division and one, seven-team division in each conference
..... top-two teams in each division are guaranteed playoff berths and seeding in the top-four; the remainder of spots will be filled by the next four highest finishing teams (by overall points)
..... division splits would fall along time zones
..... Columbus and Atlanta would flip conferences
..... the current Southeast division (Tampa Bay, Carolina, Florida and Washington [and likely minus Atlanta] would meld with the Atlantic (Philly, the Isles, Rangers and Devils)
..... Pittsburgh would flip up with the Northeast boys (Toronto, Ottawa, Boston, Montreal and Buffalo) and add one other, probably Columbus
..... one West division would include Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose, Colorado and Phoenix because they're all in either the Pacific or Mountain time zones
..... the remaining western teams would be combined in a seven-team division because they are all in the Central or Eastern zones
..... each team would play each other at least once, thus eliminating the current issue that sees Sid the Kid, Alex the Great and other stars venture into some western cities just once in three years...............
It's going to be a love it or hate it scenario. I'm not sure where I stand. But I do see a somewhat sinister underbelly to the whole thing -- if the league cannot support some of the cities it's currently in and the TV numbers remain regional instead of national, then why lay the groundwork to expand?
Sounds like bad business sense to me.
Posted by Janet Eagleson at 12/22/2006 8:21:00 PM