Continuing the give and take on my plan:
You made a division that stretches from the far Pacific time zone to the eastern Central time zone.
Despite being in the same division with teams in the Pacific time zone, under my plan Nashvile has the exact same number of games at EDM, VAN, ANA, CAL, LA, SJ, MIN, COL and DAL as they have under their current alignment.
Also, you need to cut that some slack because I've got Phoenix moved to Hamilton/Toronto already; What's the NHL's plan if they move?
This is basically the crux of the argument. The NHL went so far as to draft about six realignment proposals in 2006. They abandoned all six because NONE of them work. All of them were based on geography.
Which is the reason I looked at a baseball style alignment in the first place.
Go back and look at baseball. two leagues, but for the most part the alignment makes sense. The only two overlaps are Atlanta and Pittsburgh, and KC and Texas, but those are close enough to be forgivable.
That's the thing... baseball doesn't make sense: You've got a 16/14 split because the league doesn't want interleague play all year around.
They don't do "radical realignment" because everyone in baseball is against it. Because you lose fans to the other team in your market when you finish behind them in the standings year after year.
Hockey does not have this interleague problem.
The divisions in hockey are REALLY East 1, East 2, Mideast, Southeast, Southwest and Northwest. Geography simply doesn't work for six groups of five. It isn't symmetrical enough to work. Not when you have:
4 northwest teams (VAN, EDM, CAL, COL)
4 southwest teams (SJ, LA, ANA; PHX for now)
2 southern central teams (DAL, NASH)
3 northern central teams (MIN, CHI, STL)
4 southeast teams (CAR, TB, FLA, ATL)
13 Northeast teams (everyone else and maybe Hamilton)
I think the disconnect between what I'm proposing is how the standings look. The schedule is the important thing. Look at home I basically increased the total number of games vs teams NEAR you. Not necessarily time zone, but near you.
The Eastern teams dump games with CAR, TB, FLA, NASH, and ATL in favor of more games CHI, STL, DET, MIN, and CBJ.
And everyone loses games vs the West. Each West team makes two more trips East than before, but one is because I moved Phoenix.
I really think there's only TWO ways to fix hockey. The first is the baseball style conference format. Because geography doesn't work with the teams in these cities. Even if they go to four divisions. 8/7 in each conference. That still is messed up:
WEST Pacific: VAN, EDM, CAL, SJ, ANA, LA, COL
EAST: Northeast: BUF, TOR, MON, OTT, PIT, CBJ, Hamilton (That was easy. But what about...)
WEST Central: DET, CHI, MIN, STL, DAL, NASH (they need one more)
EAST: Atlantic: NYR, NYI, PHI, NJ, WAS, ATL, CAR, TB, FLA (who you moving to the West?)
And the schedule is still an issue. You play everyone in your division six times and everyone in the other division four times. And then you play 10 games against the remaining 15 teams.
But if you move ATL to the West, they are playing CAR, TB and FLA a total of three times max.
You have Chicago, Detroit and St. Louis playing TOR, MON, BUF, Hamilton, BOS, NYR, Crosby's Pens, Ovechkin's Caps, Tavares' Islanders either one or zero times.
There's five teams you don't play. Which means it takes three years between seeing all the teams.
You're returning to the model the NHL moved away from years ago because no one liked it.
And most importantly, each East division is comprised of 5 core teams, and then pairs of the TB, FLA, ATL, CAR group that you play six times... and NO ONE REMOTELY CARES ABOUT.
Every issue in hockey boils down to the simple fact that no one likes playing CAR, TB, FLA, ATL, NAS or PHX. I don't know why (They are new? Warm weather? Stupid nicknames and ugly jerseys?), but it's true. And that is the second way to fix hockey:
Patrick: NYI, NYR, PHI, NJ, PIT, WAS
Adams: BUF, BOS, MON, TOR, OTT, MON
Norris: CHI, DET, MIN, STL, COL, DAL
Smythe:VAN, CAL, EDM, LA, SJ, ANA
Basically 1993 NHL hockey, only with TOR and OTT instead of QUE and HAR. in the Adams; COL and DAL instead of TOR and TB in the Norris; ANA instead of WIN in the Smythe.
6 vs your division, 4 vs other division, 2 vs other conference with four more games left to schedule for TV. That's what I want. I would watch all 82 games of that. When my team plays ANA or SJ, I think "oh, well not a rival, but it's a good change of pace. See different conference. And the late games are just fun to stay up for." But when we play Carolina or Atlanta, Tampa or Florida, I'm like "Geez, these F'ing guys again!?!"
What's my connection to TB, FLA, CAR and ATL? They're in our time zone, but so what? For New York, Detroit, Columbus and Chicago are closer than Atlanta. The Islanders arena is closer to Minnesota's than Miami's. (Yes, I'm an die-hard Islanders fan, so let's never mention "Kansas City" again).
My whole goal is to get the teams playing more games against teams that fans want to see. My team plays ATL, CAR, TB and FLA 20 times a season, plus another 3-4 against CBJ, NASH and PHX.