We are 29 games into the 2020-21 campaign.
It’s an odd year, we all know this. With a global pandemic calling the shots, the NHL has had to do a lot on the fly. At the top of the list of changes is the alteration to the divisional alignment. Each division for this season has some of their usual foes. In the North, of course all of Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal are still in the same division. In the Central, Tampa Bay, Florida and Detroit are all hanging out.
But, now we have new teams. Yes, the Ottawa Senators have played hockey games against the likes of Winnipeg and Vancouver before, but usually it’s a pair of games, spaced out through the season and there’s no real opportunity for a true rivalry to be born. Add the newly revised divisions to the fact teams are only playing in-division for the entire season and the baseball-style series format, some games end up feeling a little more like a playoff game, rather than a regular season match.
With that, the realignment does mean that local fans - primarily in Canada - have to watch more games at odd hours. For fans of the Canucks, they have far more 4pm starts than they’re used to. For fans of the Senators, we’re staying up later, more often, for longer periods of time. But, is that so bad?
Next season should (he says with hesitant optimism) see the ability for teams to cross the border and play against one another again. That means we will get to see the Sens face off against American teams once more. This year will go on as an odd-ball season where each team only plays six others and never visits another country. So, naturally, the schedule and current alignment will be gone.
But, there is still a world where the NHL looks at this All-Canadian division and sees revenue opportunities by having more All-Canadian matchups than usually appear in a standard NHL season. As an aside, it wouldn’t make me sad, personally, to continue hearing just one national anthem before a game... but that’s just me.
This brings us to our Weekly Question:
Understanding that all games would not be played within the division moving forward, would you want to see the North Division remain in future seasons?
Should the North Division stay or should it go?
This poll is closed
Stay, gimme that Canadian content!
Go, bring back the Atlantic Division