Re-aligning the NHL: An experiment in time-wasting

Yesterday on ESPN, four of the network's chief hockey analysts--John Buccigross, Scott Burnside, Pierre LeBrun, and Barry Melrose--all offered their plans for re-aligning the National Hockey League's team team and divisional geography. It brought to to mind the massive undertaking over at, where they've invented the IceHL--a redesign of the NHL from the ground up, including cities, team names, and logo designs submitted from fans of the blog.

On ESPN, the most interesting plan might have come from LeBrun, who made an entire division out of Western European cities (and also established the Memphis Grizzlies of the NHL, the 'Toronto Islanders'). Is it a complete waste of time? Absolutely, but that doesn't make it any less fun to play around with it.

So, without further ado, here is what my NHL would look like:

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Eastern Conference
Orr Division Richard Division Lemieux Division
New York Rangers Ottawa Senators Pittsburgh Penguins
Boston Bruins Montreal Canadiens Philadelphia Flyers
New Jersey Devils Quebec Nordiques Carolina Hurricanes
Buffalo Sabres Toronto Maple Leafs Florida Panthers
Washington Capitals Hamilton Blackberries Nashville Predators
Western Conference
Yzerman Division Gretzky Division Sakic Division
Detroit Red Wings Los Angeles Kings Winnipeg Jets
Chicago Blackhawks Portland Marines Vancouver Canucks
Minnesota Wild Dallas Stars Saskatoon Wheaties
St. Louis Blues Colorado Avalanche Edmonton Oilers
Columbus Blue Jackets Anaheim Hadrosaurs Calgary Flames

A few things to note about my league:

  • Two all-Canadian divisions, ten Canadian teams. Is this better for the league? Maybe not, but it's better for Canadian fans, if you ask me.
  • No offence is meant towards fans of the New York Islanders, Phoenix Coyotes, San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning, or Atlanta Thrashers, but I took your teams away. I just wanted more teams in Canada, and a couple other US cities.
  • No offence is meant to Saskatooners for naming their team the Wheaties.
  • I gave a team to Portland, but it could really be anywhere in the US Northwest.
  • I changed the Anaheim Ducks to the Hadrosaurs for no reason, really.
  • The Nashville Predators remain, and moved to the Eastern Conference. I just like that team. Same with the Carolina Hurricanes, they're still around even if they're not 'traditional' hockey markets.
  • I was going to go with one team in California, but the market's too big for that. And I couldn't figure someone else to fit into that division.

So, anyone else have ideas for an NHL redesign? A couple guidelines: Keep it to 30 teams. Try and maintain the Original Six, because they're not likely going anywhere.

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