I don’t mind the new alignment the NHL has adapted for next year. Really, I don’t. I understand perfectly that Detroit and Columbus resented having to play their division games against teams an entire hour behind them in time zones and most of their other games against teams two or three hours behind them in time difference. I understand perfectly that it would have been ludicrous to ask the Winnipeg Jets, a team located smack in the middle of Canada, to continue playing in the Southeast Division just because that’s where they played when they were still in Atlanta.
I’m OK with Tampa Bay and Florida joining what’s currently known as the Northeast Division, it’s not like they’d be the only league that has Buffalo and Miami in the same division (hello NFL). I like how the new format increases the chances of bitter division rivals like Boston and Montreal meeting in the playoffs.
I’m perfectly fine with all of this. I’ve just got one question for NHL Commissioner and Cornell alum Gary Bettman: would it really kill him to just call these new realignments what they really are, divisions, instead of pretending they’re the same thing as conferences? It would probably be a whole lot less confusing for the casual fans, if nothing else.