The NHL got approval from its NHL Governors, and now has to be presented to the NHLPA. I think it’s OK from stand point of getting to play more rival type games, but teams will have to travel West or East to play a lot of those teams in opposite Conferences.
The traveling part of their life is going to be horrible, and could affect them in the long run depending on what time of the season that occurs. I think the later in the season, the harder it maybe. More Ovechkin, Crosby, and Avery games are exciting to me as a Philadelphia Flyers fan. The “Rivalries” could grow into something much larger long-term too.
[ad 6]Conferences will align as follows. Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadians, Ottawa Senators, Buffalo Sabres, Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers, and Tampa Bay Lightning in one seven team conference.
New York Rangers, New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, Carolina Hurricanes in other seven team conference.
Anaheim Ducks, LA Kings, San Jose Sharks, Phoenix Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche, Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, and Edmonton Oilers in one eight team conference.
Dallas Stars, St. Louis Blues, Chicago Black Hawks, Minnesota Wild, Winnipeg Jets, Nashville Predators, Detroit Red Wings, Columbus Blue Jackets in other eight team conference.
This could be a new factor, that down the road in the next two or three years, could draw my fans locally into the games. The NHL has been trying feverishly to attract new people to the sport, and this new alignment could do just that. I can’t say for sure if the NHL Governors were looking just at the nature of all teams in the NHL having rivalries with other teams near them, but it was mentioned it was brought into consideration by TSN.
I think local news outlets will be a key factor in attracting the casual guy that hardly watches the NHL. Here is why. If these rivalries start to kick off in a way that I am banking on, it will bring more fighting back into the League as it was before. Once these rivalries grow more and more, the local news companies will begin to play these clips of fights on TV, and the casual fan will start to take notice, and hopefully tune in.
If you look at the state of the NHL is now, it’s almost as if the league is slowly changing away from the days of the heavy weight enforcer. Look at the Flyers now. Jody Shelly has sat most of this season for Zac Rinaldo, whom is at best a Light Heavy Weight/Middle Weight. Most teams have the same style fighter also. Boston has Shawn Thornton.
[adinserter block=”1″]The Caps did have King last year, NYR have Avery and Prust, while other teams like Toronto have multiple heavy weights. I think with the new enforcement of the hooking penalties, they allowed the smaller players to be more of an impact, and that’s where the heavy weights went out the door. Now, I think when you have these teams playing a lot more home at home series, it could lead to teams down the road bringing in more guys because the rivalries will start to get hotter, and more heat between teams.
This could be something a big deal long-term for the NHL, if they embrace this within reason, and allow the fans to see what they want.