Tue May 24 11:56am EDT
The owners of the Atlanta Thrashers continue to negotiate with True North Sports and Entertainment for what seems like the inevitable relocation of the team to Winnipeg barring a last-second bid by Jimmy Carter (who would then build a new arena with his bare hands). If you're interested in what it's like in Atlanta as the Thrashers' departure looms, check out Jay Busbee's piece for The Post Game.
As has been widely reported, the NHL is going to take its time with realignment, as Winnipeg is expected to remain in the Southeast until 2012-13. They'll end up in the Northwest, and the common thought on the other dominos to fall are the Colorado Avalanche to the Pacific Division (ah, the lovely coastal drives in the Rockies) and the Dallas Stars to the Central Division.
Back to the Eastern Conference? It could be the Detroit Red Wings, Columbus Blue Jackets or Nashville Predators. But what if realignment went even further than accommodating the Winnipeg Whatevers in the West?
Darren Everson of the Wall Street Journal offers this realignment plan that "would yield the shortest road trips" in the NHL.
What do you think? Everson defends the new Eastern Conference as being cost-efficient.
The Count computed the optimal NHL alignment, based on which scenario would provide the shortest average intradivisional road trips, mileage-wise. Naturally, Winnipeg wound up in the Northwest Division with Calgary, Edmonton, Minnesota and Vancouver. Nashville would be the best geographic fit for the East, even though, unlike Columbus or Detroit, it's in the Central time zone. Dallas should join Detroit in the Central, and Boston and Pittsburgh should also switch divisions.
We know it's supposed to be a realignment that provides short road trips, but any realignment plan that takes Boston and Montreal out of the same division is just a travesty and should be shat upon. Makes no sense. Boston is in New England which is in the [expletive] Northeast. Geography, bitches. Study it. Taking the Penguins out of the Atlantic is also dumb, dumb, dumb. Last time we checked PIT and PHI were in the same state. Just sayin'. What a long road trip it must be.
Oh, how soon we forget the storied 1993-98 run of the Penguins in the Northeast Division. They moved in 1993, when the Florida Panthers joined the East and the NHL decided "Patrick" and "Adams" were too difficult for American fans to remember. The Penguins remained there until the 1998-99 season, when the Hockey Gods bestowed upon us the Southeast Division.
So, with all that, what say you on the totality of this realignment plan, including the Penguins/Bruins flip-flop and the Predators in the Southeast?
Pass or Fail: Geographically Accurate NHL Realignment.