Thursday, 14 March 2013

What should the NHL do in the future since realignment is a reality?

   Realignment was always a debatable topic based on seeing hockey returning to Winnipeg almost two years ago. The National Hockey League today finally approved of the proposed realignment plan for next season. The realignment will see the Jets move to the Western Conference while the Eastern Conference will see both the Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets join them. This move makes sense because it was not fair for fans of the Wings and Jackets to watch games late while the travel schedule for the Jets was horrendous. While the three teams will immediately benefit from this, there happens to be a slight problem. The Eastern Conference will now have 16 of the 30 teams while the Western Conference will only have 14 teams. Since the NHL faces this issue, this is what they should consider doing in the near future.
  Like the NFL, the NHL should expand to 32 teams mostly in Western markets. It is not like the financial situation of the Phoenix Coyotes will improve anytime soon. It would be much better if they were to relocate them to Seattle, while give two new cities an expansion franchise. Kansas City was rumored to have a team a few years back due to a brand new building (Sprint Center) so Bettman and company should put them for consideration. This sounds like a long shot, but another possible NHL team that can join the league is Portland. They have a great fan base due to having a rich history with its junior team the Winterhawks as well as an arena greatly suitable for hockey (Rose Garden). If both Portland and Kansas City were to join the league as well as Seattle, they would easily fit into what would be divisions A and B in the West.
  We cannot forget Quebec City. They have always wanted hockey back after seeing the Nordiques become the Colorado Avalanche. While its rumored that the Yotes will go to Quebec, it would not be the wisest thing because more realignment would have to be done. If Quebec were to see a team, it would make sense if the Blue Jackets become what we will see as the Nordiques. This is because the Jackets will be in the East and the only shuffling that happens would primarily be in both divisions of the new Eastern Conference. However hockey will only come back to Quebec City should the team find a way to get a modern rink. This idea would work out the best should the NHL have plans somewhere down the road.


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