>WESTERN DIVISION CENTRAL DIVISION EASTERN DIVISION
>Vancouver Montreal Quebec
>San Jose Toronto Boston
>Los Angeles Ottawa Hartford
>Winnipeg Chicago NY Islanders
>Edmonton Detroit NY Rangers
>Calgary Buffalo Washington
>Minnesota Pittsburgh New Jersey
>St. Louis Philadelphia Tampa
travel; now they have two more cities in their general vicinity.
With Gretzky playing in Minnesota's division, the fans might start
buying tickets again. If not, then the club will be well positioned
for a welcome move to Seattle.
The Toronto-Montreal rivarly gets re-established, something I really
missed. The Central now has 4 of the "original 6", or stretching it, 5
of the "original 7" if you include Ottawa. For good measure, the
Central gets Mario Lemieux. With Quebec in the Eastern, Lindros is
guaranteed to play on the east coast, where he wants. So each of the
three divisions gets its superstar/media draw.
The draw backs of this arrangement are that the regular season
Montreal-Boston and Quebec-Montreal rivalries are diluted. However,
with an odd number of divisions, the amount of inter-divisional playoff
series increases to earlier rounds. Assuming the 16 team playoff, the 3
division winners, plus the 12 best remaining teams could be seeded, in
order of regular season performance, with the division winners sharing
the first three seeds in order of record. Each round of the playoffs
would result in remaining teams being re-seeded. This produces far more
permutations of series, and guarantees that two excellent teams won't
meet early on. So, even though Montreal and Boston/Quebec won't be in
the same division, chances are they might in the playoffs, and we won't
have to wait for 3rd round to see it.