Reed Review 6/08: The Winnipeg Effect & the Division Shuffle
With the announcement that the Atlanta to Winnipeg trade is close enough to be called a done deal there are two things that people want to know. What the 7th Canadian team will be called and of course how will things change in the conferences/divisions.
Let’s commence by getting one of the most discussed topics out of the way, the team name. In a poll done by the local newspaper in Winnipeg 63% of residents said the team name should be the Jets. As much as I enjoy linking old generation to new generation hockey I have to play the devil’s advocate. Speaking from the perspective of the owner of the team naming them the Jets could very well lose you money, fewer jersey purchases is only the beginning. Looking at a past team, when a franchise came back to Minnesota the owners believed a clean slate was necessary and therefore for that reason, we have the Minnesota Wild. What’s best for the league and ultimately the fans in my mind is to pick a new name, and look forward to a bright future of hockey in Winnipeg.
My favourite suggestion that I’ve heard so far other than the Jets, is the Winnipeg Rebels, runner-up going to the Winnipeg Voyageurs. If you’ve got a name worth stating make sure to comment it below.
On to discussing the business side of the big location switch is the all important division shuffle. As of right now Gary Bettman, the commissioner, has stated that the Winnipeg No-Names will be playing in the southeast division for the upcoming season. This being purely based on the fact that it was a late deal and scheduling has already been done.
Next year however, the proposed division shuffle as stated by TSN and therefore, the most likely to happen, is the following:
- The Winnipeg No-Names will move to the Northwest division;
- The Colorado Avalanche will move out of the Northwest to the Pacific division;
- The Dallas Stars will move out of the Pacific and the Western Conference to the Eastern Conference and Southeast Division.
Northwest: Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Minnesota, Winnipeg
Pacific: San Jose, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Phoenix, Colorado
Southeast: Washington, Florida, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Dallas
Having first heard this I couldn’t help but feel there has to be a better alternative. Many fans on forums and message boards have been making the case for the Detroit Red Wings to be moved to the eastern conference. To be Frank (and not Matt, that’s right I made a joke), I have to disagree. Although I see the merit in moving the Wings to the East both skill-wise and geographically, the domino-effect it will have on the other divisions simply does not work.
The proposed Detroit division shuffle:
- Detroit would move to the East and would play either in the Northeast division, or in the Atlantic division all would be similar except Boston would remain in Northeast;
- Boston would be moved to the Atlantic;
- Philadelphia would be moved to the Southeast;
- Minnesota would move to the Central;
- Winnipeg would then reside in the Northwest.
Northwest: Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Colorado, Winnipeg.
Pacific: No Change
Central: Chicago, St Louis, Columbus, Nashville, Minnesota
Northeast: Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Buffalo, Detroit
Atlantic: New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Pittsburgh, New Jersey, Boston (or Detroit with Boston staying in Northeast),
Southeast: Washington, Carolina, Tampa Bay, Florida, Philadelphia
Whichever the NHL decides to do it remains a tough call. It seems either way at least one team is going to have to travel more than the others and get the proverbial short end of the hockey stick. Maybe if Phoenix moves to Quebec City, Portland or Seattle like I would like to see it might be easier. But as I’ve put it so many times before, that is another article for another day.
Writer for The Reed Review, The Checking Line, Hockey Independent and Inside Hockey