Yesterday, I gave a more rational idea for realignment of the NHL teams starting next season. Now, I'm going to get creative. I get that it's almost certain that you won't see a true transformation of the divisions, but I wanted to get this out there since I couldn't find any hockey writer/blogger that I know suggest this. Let me start with the division that I find most unique to this plan. Oh, and by the way, I'm doing away with geographical names with updated NHL legends named as divisions.
Howe Division: Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Detroit, Chicago, Rangers, Islanders, Devils
That's right, a division with Original Six teams. I hate to include the Islanders and Devils, but what's the point of a division of just Original Six teams if they can't play more often. Since the Islanders and Devils basically are aligned with the Rangers, they are included so we see more divisional play. Besides if/when the Islanders move, they are out of here.
Gretzky Division: Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Minnesota, Buffalo
Now here is where the rest of the Canadian teams will join together. And the addition of Minnesota and Buffalo make sense because those are arguably your two most hockey-crazed American cities with the exception of Pittsburgh (obviously no Original Six teams count here) Also, since the division has seven teams, there's room for Quebec City whenever a team comes in.
Lemieux Division: Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Washington, Columbus, Carolina, Florida, Tampa Bay, Nashville
Now this division is more or less based on geography. It more or less pairs all the rest of the teams in the Eastern time zone, as well as Nashville, who while in the Central share a lot more in common with Florida and Tampa, than Dallas and St. Louis.
Orr Division: Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose, Phoenix, Colorado, Dallas, St. Louis
Here's the division that might have the most gripes because it doesn't solve the problem of travel for the Stars and now gives the Blues the same problems. It's made to pair up all the U.S. based teams west of the Mississippi. It has an open slot for a team to move to Seattle, though if the team that moves is someone like the Islanders, then you can move the Blues to the Howe Division to reignite their Red Wings and Blackhawks rivalries.
More than likely, the same split of games will occur as in yesterday's post (8-team divisions would play 5x in the division, everyone else home and away and 3 games against a team in the other 8 division team; 7-team divisions play 6x in the division, and everyone else home and away). We'll add a divisional first round, then reseed for the rest of the playoffs. How's that for creative?