Realignment Will See Senators Soak Up Some Sun

The NHL Board of Governors approoved a massive NHL realignment on Monday that will see a drastic change in the scheduling and the way the Stanley Cup is determined.

THE FORMAT

By a vote of 26-4, the BOG has established 4 (yet to be named) conferences that will be more geographically oriented than the current East vs West format.  Ottawa’s conference will include the 5 teams from the current Northeast Division (Boston, Buffalo, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa) and add the two Florida based clubs (Panthers and Lightning).

THE REGULAR SEASON

Teams will play a home and home series against each team out of their division with the balance of the schedule being played in the division.  So basically it will be 46 games out of division and 36 in division games for the Senators (assuming the same 82 game schedule is included in the new CBA). They would play each divisional foe 6 times so it means an extra trip to Florida each year for the Sens.  They would see teams like the Rangers, Capitals, Flyers and Penguins half as  much as they do now.

PLAYOFFS

The playoffs will be within the division for the first round, making more heated rivalries, because instead of 14 potential 1st round opponents, there is now only 6.  Teams will play each other more often in the post-season and that can only build on already existing rivalries.

It is still to be approved, but the proposed format for the final four would be to seed the Conference Champions 1-4 based on points and play a 1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3 semi-final with the winners playing for the Cup.  It could wind up being 2 Eastern teams or 2 Western teams playing in the final.

OPINION

For every change that is made of such drastic proportions, there are bound to be those who do not like it.  However, this new alignment allows an adequate number of divisional games without providing overkill, reduces some non-divisional game.

Also, my friend Bruce and I discussed the new alignment, and he brought up a good point.  This new format reduces the impact of 3 point games.  Instead of worrying about the extra point for 14 other teams, you only need to worry about it for 6 (or 7) other teams.  A team in another conference earning an extra point for OT loss doesn’t impact the standings in your division.

There will be some opposition to the changes, but on the whole I like the new format.  Yes, we will see less of Sidney Crosby, Claude Giroux, Alex Ovechkin and the stars of the current “Atlantic” division, but Ottawa fans will get to see every team come to town once per season.

What do you think of the NHL's realignment?

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