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Blog Entry

Pens, Flyers agree in opposing realignment idea

Posted on: November 1, 2011 9:50 am
 

By Brian Stubits

The Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers actually agree on something. What's going to happen next, Don Cherry joining the anti-fighting crowd?

The two teams are united in their opposition of the realignment plan of the moment, Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. Why are they against the proposed idea? It currently has the Keystone State rivals in separate divisions. They hate each other so much they just can't quit each other. Or something like that.

The Penguins declined comment, but team sources confirmed Monday a report Saturday by the Canadian Broadcast Corp. that the franchise is not happy with a realignment plan that would divide the NHL into four unbalanced divisions and thus separate Pennsylvania's two clubs.

The Flyers told the Delaware County Times that they support the Penguins' stance.

"We are in 100 percent agreement with the Pittsburgh Penguins," said Flyers president Peter Luukko. "We are in close communication with them on this subject. This is a big rivalry that means a lot, not only to us as a franchise, but to our fans, their fans, and the entire state of Pennsylvania."

The realignment plan that appears to be gaining a lot of traction at the moment is commissioner Gary Bettman's idea for four divisions, two with eight, two with seven. Obviously the Jets will rightfully be moved to the West and then it becomes just a matter of either the Red Wings or the Blue Jackets going East.

Because part of that proposal calls for a home-and-home series against every team in the NHL with the rest of the games to be played within your division. So it's easy to see how the Flyers and Penguins would try to shoot this idea down now; playing each other only twice in a season? Wouldn’t be right.

Ironically enough, this same balanced schedule could be what sends the Blue Jackets to the East instead of Detroit. Wings owner Mike Ilitch has been very vocal about his desire for the Wings to fly East, but he has softened his stance a bit lately if he could get a guarantee for a home-and-home against every team. I think even Ilitch can see Columbus needs the move more. Detroit can stay in the West and nothing will change, it will continue to have one of the biggest fan bases in the game.

If this becomes the biggest point of contention against this plan getting approved. I wonder how willing they would be to alter a team or two in the divisional lineup. If it ends up being Detroit who goes East, it would seem to be simple enough to swap Detroit and Philadelphia in the lineups. It keeps the competitive balance nearly the same and the only drawback is Detroit gets stuck with teams further to the south and in a division opposite Toronto. But at this point, beggars can't really be choosers.

If Columbus is the lucky winner, it's a bit tougher to make things line up right. You have to keep traditional balance in line, among other things. Yes, organizations go through ups and downs and you can't guarantee who will be good and who won't, but you have a good idea what teams will be competitive more often than not, which markets traditionally yield a winner.

So my simple enough suggestion -- if this is the plan they truly want to use -- is to flip Washington and Pittsburgh. The downside for the Capitals is that they won't be in a division with Philadelphia or Pittsburgh (or New York). But really, the Caps haven't had a real rival since moving into the Southeast Division and while the Flyers, Penguins and Rangers are probably the best they have in the rivalry department.

Those are about the only ways I think they could appease the Pennsylvania teams and stay within the four-division format while keeping equal and roughly geographically responsible groupings. So have fun with that, commish.

In the meantime, I'll be waiting for that change of heart from Cherry.

Photo: CBC

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Comments

Since: Aug 29, 2011
Posted on: November 2, 2011 7:35 pm
 

Pens, Flyers agree in opposing realignment idea

You can't be serious Gary. How in the world would seperating the Flyers and Pens be a good thing. It is by far one of the fiercest rivalries in the league. I have no idea why they would want to make it 4 total divisions. This just doesn't make any sense to me. I mean your going to take Detroit out of the west? Why would you do that. Because they feel they belong in the east come on. The rivalry forming with Detroit and Chicago right now is great. It is like the old days in hockey. And with Vancouver being a powerhouse right now it will be fun to watch those teams kill each other in the west. Bettman you better sit down and think about what your doing here. He could royally screw this league up even more than it already is. I still to this date hate the new rule changes. The way hockey was before the lockout was fantastic. Low to medium scoring great forechecking in your face hockey. Now if you touch someones shoulder your in the box. Mr Bettman do everyone a favor and resign, because your an idiot.



Since: Sep 10, 2007
Posted on: November 2, 2011 4:51 pm
 

Pens, Flyers agree in opposing realignment idea

The Pens and Flyers must stay in the same division!
     I agree with flipping Pittsburgh and Washington even though the Pens would have an easier schedule if they do not flip with Washington.  All of Pennsylvania will be irate.  Hockey needs all the good PR it can get.  They are at best the number four sports fan base and are trying to gain in popularity, meanwhile nearly pricing themselves out of the market with ticket prices.  Wake up Bettman!



Since: Sep 10, 2007
Posted on: November 2, 2011 4:49 pm
 

Pens, Flyers agree in opposing realignment idea

The Pens and Flyers must stay in the same division!
     I agree with flipping Pittsburgh and Washington even though the Pens would have an easier schedule if they do not flip with Washington.  All of Pennsylvania will be irate.  Hockey needs all the good PR it can get.  They are at best the number four sports fan base and are trying to gain in popularity, meanwhile nearly pricing themselves out of the market with ticket prices.  Wake up Bettman!



Since: Sep 8, 2008
Posted on: November 2, 2011 8:57 am
 

Pens, Flyers agree in opposing realignment idea

Yes only a moron like Bettman could take a perfect mathematical situation [30 teams divided EVENLY into 6 divisions] and try to "fix it".  Just like he's been trying to "fix" scoring.  Just like they had a "closed door" lottery draft to make sure Crosby went to the bankrupt Penguins.  Just like he's "fixed" the game by not addressing the real problems of concussion the warrior like plastic equipment worn by players.  Just like he's "fixed" fighting by doing all he can to remove fighting and keep the instigator rule so TEAMS can't police their own stars.  Just like he's "fixed" scoring by not forcing goalies to wear equipment like they used to in the 1980's when a shooter could actually SEE the back of the net and not some giant Michelin man.  And don't even get me started on shootouts.


Stupid gimmicks like realignment, changing the home team out of their white jersey's, shootouts to break "ties" yet award an extra point ... this does nothing but KILL this game.

You want to know how to fix this game.  Take a look at the executives of the NHL.  Then FIRE them all.





Since: Sep 8, 2008
Posted on: November 2, 2011 8:50 am
 

Pens, Flyers agree in opposing realignment idea

Your idea is fine.  Just CUT the extra two games from the schedule since the season is too long anyhow.



Since: Nov 1, 2011
Posted on: November 1, 2011 10:19 pm
 

Pens, Flyers agree in opposing realignment idea

This is another STUPID and IDIOTIC idea by Bettman

The current divisions are just fine.  The only changes that are needed is to move Winnepeg back to the West and swap Detroit or Columbus back to the East.  The real problem is the schedule and here is the best solution for that.

Play each team in the opposite Conference in a home and home = 30 games
Play each other team in your division 5 times (alternating the 5th home game every other year) = 20 games
Play each other team in your conference 3 times (alternating the 3rd home game every other year) = 30 games

That is only 80 games to the current 82, but if teams need the extra home game then make them against 2 other teams in the division and switch it to the other 2 the following year.

This way each team will see every team a minimum of twice a year (great for all fans)
With only 5 games against teams in your own division it will make EVERY game mean that much more, thus creating even bigger and more intense rivalries...

Get a clue Bettman




Since: Jul 9, 2009
Posted on: November 1, 2011 10:01 pm
 

Pens, Flyers agree in opposing realignment idea

Hey, this is nothing.  There's something still called the "Big East Conference" that's about to include Boise State, Air Force, SMU, and South Florida.   How does this happen?

Hockey fans, count your blessings!



Since: Dec 12, 2006
Posted on: November 1, 2011 9:20 pm
 

Pens, Flyers agree in opposing realignment idea

BTW, who outside of Philly and Pittsburgh cares if they play eachother six times a year opposed to 2? I also hate the division format, but if they decided to put the Pens in the Southeast, would the teams still bitch about it because they don't get six games against eachother? If the Pens went to the southeast, they'd get 6 against Washington and still have 4 against Philly, so I'd say that's a fair trade. I want whats best for the NHL. Obviously I, along with every other Red Wings fan, want them to move east, but if it would be better for the league to just swap the Jets and Preds then I'm all for it. 



Since: Nov 14, 2006
Posted on: November 1, 2011 9:20 pm
 

Pens, Flyers agree in opposing realignment idea

Being a Flyers fan, I hate the way pro sports has changed it scheduling. I like a balanced schedule playing each team an equal amount of times. Now I do like the home and home series but I don't like the idea that we will only see the Kings, Wings, Canucks etc. just once a year. I realize for the sake of travel the only teams it makes sense to play home and home with is the Pens, Rangers, Islanders & Capitals and possibly Hurricanes.  



Since: Dec 12, 2006
Posted on: November 1, 2011 9:03 pm
 

Pens, Flyers agree in opposing realignment idea

Winnipeg to Northwest, Minnesota to Central, Pittsburgh to Southeast, Detroit to Northeast, Boston to Atlantic... don't understand why this isn't the obvious solution... Or just swap Winnipeg and Nashville since the West relies heavily on the Red Wings for ticket sales in the nontraditional markets. Both of these simple realignments are way better than the current idea of four divisions.


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