You know, when the Thrashers moved to Winnipeg, and the talk of realignment started, I was SURE the league would take the easy way out. Move one team here, one there, and call it a day. As time went on and some big-time changes were talked up, I still scoffed. It’s easy to talk about big changes, harder to get everyone to agree on them. But then the past few days you kept hearing that the four conference plan was the favored one, and I couldn’t ignore it anymore. Imagine my surprise when the tweets came down that it was the one that was approved. You can get full details here, but the important thing for us is, we add Tampa and Florida to our current ‘division’, now a conference, and play them all 6 times a year. Everyone else, home and home. The eight team divisions have a bit more math for the conference games but thems the breaks.
This idea is growing on me the more I think of it. The key for me is not so much the new conferences but the playoff format. It’s going to accentuate rivalries to an even greater extent. Imagine Pittsburgh and Boston battling for six regular season games, only to meet in the playoffs for 7 more. I wouldn’t be surprised at a whole new rivalry forming out of this. I can’t wait to hear when it’s going to be put in to play.