The release of the 2013-2014 regular season schedule turned the concept of a realigned NHL into a reality. So long Northeast and Northwest Divisions and welcome to the game….Metropolitan?
Beyond the unique branding of the league’s new division, the general compilation of teams based on geographic location and shared time zone seems to makes sense. Until you see where Tampa Bay and Florida wound up, that is. Logic would lead one to believe the southern-most teams in the league would be paired with teams nearby, like the Hurricanes. Instead, the Lightning and the Panthers will spend the bulk of the season facing off against Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. Meanwhile, Dallas will see more of Chicago, Minnesota, Colorado, Nashville, St. Louis and Winnipeg.
Despite what can only be described as a couple funky division lineups, the new schedule does present every team in the league the opportunity to play every other team in the league. Some will love it while some hate it, but being able to promote to Western Conference fans a once-in-a-season opportunity to see teams like Pittsburgh and Boston, and Eastern Conference fans the chance to see L.A. and Chicago is sure to benefit all parties involved.
And if you’re just not ready to jump on the realignment bandwagon, don’t give up on the NHL just yet; the whole thing will be reassessed in a couple of years.
We want to know what you think – will realignment benefit or hurt the NHL? Vote below and add a comment letting us know how you feel!