It’s been rumored for awhile and hockey fans have been awaiting confirmation that realignment will take place. The NHL Board of Governors have agreed to the proposed realignment plan.
In case you’re wondering, it actually does make sense this time.
No more Winnipeg in the East (poor guys).
No more Columbus in the West. That makes as much sense as Indianapolis being in the AFC South, right?
The league is going to go with the realignment plan starting next year. The proposed plan has the Western and Eastern Conferences divided into two divisions.
Division A in the West:
Division B in the West:
Division C in the East:
And for the one you’ll care about the most; Division D in the East:
New York Rangers
New York (Brooklyn) Islanders
Looks pretty good, right? The Penguins keep their rivals from the Atlantic Division and now Detroit joins the party in the Eastern Conference.
We know the NHL thought don’t we? They aren’t going to just keep the divisions A, B, C and D. Gary Bettman has already said the divisions won’t be named Patrick, Norris, Adams or Smythe. I always enjoyed those instead of Atlantic, Northeast, Pacific and Central personally.
“We’re hoping to use the names that make it easiest to conjure up which teams are where,” said Bettman to reporters.
Good luck finding one that relates to Montreal, Florida AND Tampa Bay, Gary.
While that’s all fine and good, I have my own idea for naming the divisions.
To me, it would work better if the teams in Division C were different, but we can make do.
Why not name the Divisions after the greatest players in hockey history? It’s not as silly of an idea as it sounds. Let’s take a look at what the divisions could be called if Bettman were to take my idea.
The Gretzky division (Division A)
It’s not a popular opinion around these parts, but to me, Wayne Gretzky is the greatest hockey player to ever take the ice. I wrote an article about the comparisons between he and Mario last year. Regardless if he’s the best ever or not, he’s the best ever for this division and that goes without question. Gretzky played on the Edmonton Oilers and the Los Angeles Kings (among other teams) but his greatest times were in the Blue and Orange. The Great One – who actually lived up to his nickname – is the owner of 40 regular season records and 15 playoff records.
The Hull Division (Division B)
I really wish that Detroit was in this division. It would make it so much easier. Bobby Hull is one of the greatest players of all time and spawned another great player in his own right with son Brett. Hull was a legend with the Blackhawks and Winnipeg Jets (see a theme here yet?) and led the Blackhawks to its first Stanley Cup in 23 years during his third NHL season. Known for his play and his “banana curved” stick (Bobby Hull rule), Hull deserves his own division.
The Orr Division (Division C)
This is the most complicated division of all. The Red Wings, Habs and Bruins all in one division? You want to talk about pure history; you have it here. To me, it comes down to Gordie Howe, Rocket Richard, Patrick Roy or Bobby Orr. “Mr. Hockey” Howe has a “hat trick” named after him, Richard meant more to Quebec than just hockey as he represented them all and Roy is the best goalie of all time. With all that being said, I have to go with Orr. Orr revolutionized the sport when he played which set the bar for the current players. I wouldn’t be mad with any of the names I selected, but Orr gets my vote
The Lemieux Division (Division D)
Is this one really a question? Sure the Flyers have had great players through the years (Bobby Clarke, Eric Lindros) and the Islanders – believer it or not – used to be very formidable back in the day (Denis Potvin, Bryan Trottier), but no one compares to Mario. The man beat cancer, retired, returned and saved the Penguins from moving to Kansas City. “Super Mario” is arguably the greatest player of all time – depending on who you ask – and was the most gifted player to ever play the game.
So there you have it Mr. Bettman. I did your job for you. Instead of trying to make a connection to where the teams are geographically, why not name them after legends. It’s a simple answer that works and get this, it will have people talking about your sports.
Photo Credits: Herald Daily