In a report by the CBC over the weekend, a realignment plan is in the works which would create two divisions for each conference. Not only are the divisions unbalanced, but the plan splits the Penguins and Flyers up into separate divisions.
Here is how the proposed division realignment looks:
The move would turn what has been a six game season series between the Pens and Flyers, Rangers, or any current division foe into just two games. The Pens would then play their remaining games against teams in their division. Would you get excited to see Ottawa come Pittsburgh three times a year? I'd rather watch Brokeback Mountain three times.
Both the Penguins and Flyers organizations are opposed to this proposed realignment. The Flyers president Peter Luukko was quoted talking about how big of a rivalry these two teams are for fans and the entire state of Pennsylvania. I hate to say this, but I'm 100% behind the Flyers on this.
Forget the Red Wings from the back to back Stanley Cup Finals. Forget the Capitals and Ovi. This is the Penguins biggest rival, and the NHL is going to make it non-divisional. The Pens and Flyers joined the league in the same season back in 1967 and have played in the same division for all but 12 years of their coexistence. The NHL needs to find another way...and I have the solution.
Why do we need divisions? So you can play a pool of teams more often than others, get home ice for the playoffs, and raise a banner and say "well at least we won the division" like it was a productive year. Divisions mean nothing from a playoff standpoint. And that's really the whole focus. When it comes to standings, who really looks at the divisional races? All that matters are the top eight teams from each conference. So make it two large conferences without divisions.
The league can set arrangements so certain teams in current divisions can play more often than other teams. Flyers and Pens can still play six times, Winnipeg goes to the Western Conference, and just flip a coin for Detroit and Columbus. Who really cares about the Blue Jackets anyway? It's a home game for the Pens anytime they play at Nationwide anyway.
The NHL Board of Governors will meet December 2-3 and Bettman wants a decision on realignment reached at that meeting. For the realignment to pass, two-thirds of the NHL owners have to vote for it. You know where Ray Shero and the Flyers stand. Only 19 more owners to convince voting against this joke.