On the latest version of "You Suck." / "No, YOU Suck.", Phunwin and lilybraden debate whether realignment is a good thing for the Bruins. Phunwin loooooves seeing the Red Wings five times per year and lilybraden thinks giving up a game against the Habs is a total buzzkill.
So, next year, Adams Division v.2.0 (you're damn right I'm calling it that until Gary Bettman inevitably gives it a retarded name like "Central") will see the B's sharing space with their current Northeast Division foes, plus the Red Wings, Panthers and Lightning. For five games next year, the Bruins will square off with one of the most storied franchises in hockey. They'll be in a division occupied by four of the fabled Original Six. The Rangers and Blackhawks must feel like there's a bitchin' party and they didn't get an invite.
Sure, there's going to be one game less against Boston's traditional rivals, Buffalo, Toronto, Ottawa, and of course, Les Habitants. But to me, I think five games against the Red Wings is pretty fair compensation. The Red Wings play an entertaining style of hockey, and the 18 players on the team not named Niklas Kronwall and Todd Bertuzzi are clean hockey players. Anyone who has NHL Center Ice has probably lamented the fact that they play half their games at 9 or 10 pm. Not a problem now.
Okay, sure, the Wales Conference (see previous aside) has two extra teams and thus every team in conference has a slightly decreased chance at making the playoffs. That sort of sucks, I agree. However, it's a short-term issue until they add two teams in a couple years and even the conferences out. And in any case, if the Bruins are slumming around the bottom of the playoff race, I'm not going to piss and moan too much about the slightly decreased chance of making the playoffs just so they can get bushwhacked in round 1.
The Red Wings, of course, up the standard of competition in Adams v.2.0. But if it's extra wins you're looking for, good news, here come the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning! That's not totally fair, I suppose; the Lightning leapfrog back and forth over that contender/also-ran line like few teams do. But still, they don't carry quite the same cache as the Wings.
A lot of folks aren't thrilled about the state of Florida crashing the party, and obviously, they don't exactly fit in with a "Northeast" division. But, believe it or not, this was a smart move by Bettman (see: blind squirrels and nuts). The Bruins, Leafs, Canadiens and Red Wings, whatever their differences, have one thing in common: they travel really, REALLY well. Anytime you watch the Bruins play in Miami or Tampa, you'll notice the arena is pretty much full, and a solid third of them are rocking black and gold. Tune in to a Panthers or Lightning game when they're hosting a non-Original Six team sometime. Odds are, the arena is going to be a lot less busy. Those Florida teams rely on those visiting fans to boost attendance, thus their placement in a division with the Original Six. The bottom line here is that's 20 guaranteed sellouts (or damn close) for teams that are at the lower end of the revenue spectrum.
"Well, that's great, Captain Beancounter," you say, "but why do I give a damn?" To which I reply "stop calling me Captain Beancounter, Sergeant Jerkface." However you feel about Bettman's love affair with Southern hockey, the fact is, it's here to stay, so they might as well be viable. So, again, why does this help the Bruins? Elementary, my dear Watson: as league revenues increase, so too does the salary cap. As the salary cap increases, teams that spend to the cap, like Boston, have more ability to spend on players.
And do you know WHY so many Original Six fans make those trips (apart from the ready availability of tickets)? Because Miami and Tampa are damn fine places to visit during hockey season, that's why. Most of the members of this website live in New England, where the weather sucks from about November to April. I live in Western New York, which is pretty much the same. Are you seriously going to complain about five games (on average) in Florida every year, at a time when our home climate is at its worst?
More money, more stable teams, an Original Six reunion, better players, sweet vacation spots, and new rivalries. What's not to like?
No, YOU Suck.
Never mind the foolishness that puts two Florida teams in the Northeast - that’s just the beginning of how realignment sucks for the Bruins.
Currently when there’s not a shortened season due to a stupid lockout, it’s simpler times. The Bruins see their division frenemies six glorious times a year. That’s SIX times that you can Thank Kessel, that’s SIX times you can wait for Subban to dive, That’s SIX times you can wait to see if Ryan Miller will cry, that’s SIX times you can....uh watch Ottawa.
In the land of realignment - it’ll be one less each time. That means only FIVE times that Bruins fans can enjoy the ultimate awesomeness that is the Best Rivalry in Hockey. So that means someone gets one less home game in each of these scenarios.
Currently when there’s not a shortened lockout season due to a stupid lockout, it’s simpler times. The Bruins see out of the division folks four times a year. That means FOUR chances to hate on Matt Cooke, FOUR chances to pile on the Isle (I know it’s going to be Brooklyn, but I piled on the Isle before it was cool), FOUR chances to watch a hockey game in the dark, FOUR chances to love to hate the Flyers, FOUR chances to watch the Devils do stuff, FOUR chances to question if Ovechkin is good, dirty, lazy or all of the above, FOUR chances to wonder if Jeff Skinner brings the puck to school for show and tell the next day, FOUR chances wonder what it could have been with Mark Stuart, FOUR chances to watch Stamkos, and FOUR chances to think...why is there another team in Florida.
In the land of realignment, we’ll be trading one less of the Canes, Isles, Devils. But more devastating is one less game against the Caps, Pens, Rangers and Flyers. AtlantaPeg’s gone man, and it’s the up and coming Columbus Blue Jackets in return. Bruins fans will be trading those games for additional games against Tampa, Florida and yes the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Visiting every rink for the Western Conference games means TWO opportunities to see those 14 Western Conference teams.
The playoffs have the top three in each division going to the playoffs along with two wildcard teams in the conference based on points. Why is the NHL constantly trying to fix something that’s not really broken? But constantly ignoring things that are broken? Those are things we’ll never know.