Well the NHL's Board of Governor's appears to have done it again.
How hard is it for 30 boneheads to take out a map of North America, mark the 30 NHL markets and figure out what logically works best?
Apparently they couldn't do it. That said the NHL will realign into four conferences for the 2012-13 season, that is provided a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is reached, or the current one is extended.
According to the first report from NHL.com, the new alignment is, "in favor of a configuration that features four conferences based primarily on geography."
Based on geography you say?
Well here is how the new, yet to be named conference that features your Montreal Canadiens will look.
and, get out your maps kids...
By adding Tampa and Florida, the NHL coffers will floweth over with surplus ticket sales for Snowbirds and tourists headed to the sunny south. The new format will also have each team play teams in the other conference twice a season, enabling every league barn the chance to host the top stars of the game at least once a season.
That's 46 games outside the conference, leaving 36 games against teams from their own. The current NE teams visit Florida four times each. That would now go up to six times per club, or an extra 10 total visits.
This conference decision had absolutely nothing to do with geography here. It was all about the money!
Now by geography, the league clearly meant what is now the Western Conference. This portion of the the format does improve things, with teams only left to deal with one time-zone differences. But given that the teams visit each other once, I can just see next season's travel schedule being a total train wreck.
Meanwhile the other 14 Eastern Time Zone teams have the luxury of playing 54 games in their own time zone.
The playoff format will have the top four from each conference playing in a 1 vs 4 format through the first round, and then the conference winners being reseeded.
The Powers That Be still have to finalize the 3rd rounds and onward. It is possible though that a team, such as Boston, Pittsburgh or Montreal, could wind up playing their Stanley Cup Semi-Final against a Pacific or Mountain Time zone team, while two others could be playing all their semi-final games within the Central or the Eastern time zones, or vice-versa.
The NHLPA will have to give a final blessing on this whole thing, before it is set in stone.
Think this is gonna work?