NHL Realignment: Welcome Back Norris!

Realignment is a subject that has almost been beaten to death by the blogosphere, so as fans of a team named the Wild it seems fitting to swoop in and pick clean the bones of a rotting carcass. If you haven't heard by now (and if you haven't yet still came across this blog then Mazel Tov to you), the NHL Board of Governors voted Monday to radically realign the league. Instead of six 5 team divisions, the league will have four 7 or 8 team conferences.

It also means that the Minnesota Wild, who have spent their entire existence in the Northwest Division, will leave behind imaginary rivalries with Colorado, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver to join a conference with teams fans actually care about. Instead, teams like Chicago, St. Louis and Detroit - all old Norris Division rivals for the North Stars (speaking of the spawn of Norm Green the devil, they are also in the Conference)- will be there to rekindle old hockey rivalries.

It's almost like welcoming back an old friend:

We'll welcome back Kotter but not John Travolta.

There's not much to be said about realignment which hasn't been mentioned by others but like others I'm very happy to see the Wild out of the Northwest Division. Minnesota is meant to be with teams in the Central time zone and shares more in common with the Midwest teams than any of the Western Canadian clubs.

Between cutting back on travel and time zone changes, the Wild benefit greatly. A popular talking point by Minnesota brass has been the fact that the team hasn't had a road game in the Central time zone yet this season and they are right. The fact that it's December 8th and Minnesota is on their second or third West Coast trip with 9:30 local divisional starts and no 7:00 PM local time road games is beyond ridiculous.

Heck, even the downsides to realignment aren't bad. Like Lemaire's Trap writes, it's hard to complain about an extra team in the "western" conferences when it benefits them more than the Eastern teams. Plus, as State of the State of Hockey shows, having 8 teams instead of 7 leads to one less playoff appearance every 30 years. Not significant enough to worry.

With closer teams to cut down on travel, better rivalries and divisional playoffs to breed those rivalries, it finally feels like the Wild are home after years of being exiled in the Northwest Division. Say what you want to about the how the league is run, but no Minnesota fan can be upset with Gary Bettman or realignment in general.

Seriously, the more I look at the passed realignment plan the more new things pop out to me. It that's good. But enough poetic spewing from me - what's your favorite or least favorite part of the NHL's realignment plan?


  1. Nothing to hate about the realignment from me :)!

    I'm so excited about next year, especially this week with another 9:30pm start tonight.

    I am more than happy that the late starts will be cut by more than half.

  2. Oh and by the way the shootout still exists, I can be mad at Gary Bettman