Predators' playoff chances improve under NHL's proposed realignment

Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 4:58pm

The Nashville Predators will have a better chance to make the playoffs the next two seasons.

The NHL Players Association on Thursday approved a proposal from the league office for realignment, which would divide the NHL into two unequal conferences.

“After discussions with the Executive Board, the NHLPA has given consent to realignment, to be re-evaluated following the 2014-15 season,” union executive director Donald Fehr said in a statement.

All that remains for the proposal to go into effect is approval from the NHL’s Board of Governors.

If that happens, as expected, beginning in 2013-14 Nashville will compete in the Midwest Division with six other teams, all based in the Central and Mountain time zones. Those teams would comprise half of the Western Conference with Pacific Division, seven teams in the Mountain and Western time zones.

The Eastern Conference would consist of two eight-team divisions.

Eight teams from each conference will qualify for the playoffs, which means that while Eastern Conference teams will have a 50 percent chance to reach the postseason, Western Conference teams, including the Predators, will have a 57 percent chance.

That disparity is of concern for the NHLPA.

The divisions under the realignment proposal would be as follows:

WESTERN CONFERENCE
Midwest Division: Nashville, Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Minnesota, St. Louis, Winnipeg.

Pacific Division: Anaheim, Calgary, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver.

EASTERN CONFERENCE
Atlantic Division: Carolina, Columbus, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington.

Central Division: Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Florida, Montreal, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Toronto.

The schedule under this format will allow for teams to play two games (one home, one away) each season with teams from the other conference.

Western Conference teams will play five of the other six teams in their division five times per season. They will ply the sixth team just four times. They will play the seven teams from the other division three times each.

"The NHL Players' Association confirmed to us today that it has consented to a revised Plan for Realignment, effective for the 2013-14 season,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement. “Our next step will be to bring the proposed Plan for Realignment to the NHL Board of Governors for its consideration. We will update the status of the process as future developments warrant."

5 Comments on this post:

By: JeffF on 3/7/13 at 6:16

If an Eastern conference team or its fans complains that it is not fair that they have a harder road to the playoffs, remind them that is what they chose when they continually whined about having to play in the West. I am looking at you De-riot and Columbus.

Its not like Columbus is ever going to make the playoffs anyway and Detroit is sliding into that position very, very soon as well.

By: JeffF on 3/7/13 at 6:18

The first team to whine among Detroit, Columbus, and Pittsburgh get shipped to the Midwest. Heck, throw Ottawa in there as well.

By: courier37027 on 3/7/13 at 6:51

82 games in a season is too long. May and June are no time to play ice hockey. There are 30 teams, so home-and-home would mean 58 regular season games. Top eight teams go to playoffs. Reset seeds after each round.

By: fan13 on 3/7/13 at 7:28

hattrick...There will be no reaction short of jubilation on the streets of Detroit tonight. They are so elated to get out of the west they are STILL pinching themselves. No matter that the road to Stanley is more difficult. They'll either have the talent to get there or they won't. If they don't have it they'll either get it OR develop it. They have a 75 yr history of doing JUST THAT. They will no longer have to travel across 3 time zones to play. Their fans won't be watching games at 1 AM , their players will not be subjected to the rigor of 3 time zones and expensis will be considerably less. Who cares how tough the road to the cup is..if it was easy it'd be called football.

By: Rasputin72 on 3/8/13 at 7:10

This is a perfect alignment for the local ice hockey team.

The only thing better would be to make the 48 game schedule permanent.