|Oliver Ekman-Larsson wants the Coyotes to stay in Phoenix, and if you don't agree he'll find you and make you agree.|
Usually here at OGOP I like to talk about the lighter side of hockey. I either bring you wonderfully terrible photoshops, or I compare teams to idiotic movies, but today I want to get a little serious. Don't worry I won't bore you to death, but I feel like I need to make my opinion known, why else would I start a blog? A article surfaced today stating that the potential Phoenix Coyotes buyer Greg Jamison is indeed trying to purchase the team and intends on keeping them in Phoenix. This is seriously great news for every team around the league. Why? Because it makes sense.
Not that I don't applaud the Quebec Nordiques fans who have made a point all season of letting the league know that they want a team back. However, moving the Coyotes is the wrong thing to do for the league. Even if the Coyotes were to move, Quebec isn't even the guaranteed destination, since Seattle and maybe even Kansas City seem to be in the running as well. Having said that, Quebec City seems to be the popular, and most likely destination for the move.
With it looking more like the Coyotes are staying in Phoenix (to be exact Glendale, AZ), let's take a look at why this is the best possible outcome. I'll break it down regionally (don't worry there's pictures if you don't want to read):
The scenarios laid out below are only for next season, since realignment isn't going to happen for a least another year. I've also taken into consideration that they will most likely move to Quebec City, since that's the market most vocal, and seemingly ready, about getting a team.
The Pacific Division
Obviously Phoenix moving or staying would most affect the teams in it's own division, so I'll start here. Let's say Phoenix were to move to Quebec City, a location in the Eastern Time Zone, how would that affect the Pacific division? Well there's a few options:
- The team would pull a "Winnipeg" and have a random year in the Pacific Division. This would blow balls pretty hard. For one, that means every other Pacific Division team (Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose, and Dallas) would have to travel to Quebec City THREE times! Yikes! For a division that already logs heavy travel time, this would be not only unfair, but seriously ridiculous. This also blows for the Coyotes, they have to travel across the country a billion times to play games. A billion times guys! Not fair! I know people talk about an "East Coast bias", but seriously do you think the league would go for this?
- The team would move East, while Winnipeg moves west, and a team would move into the Pacific. This seems like the most likely solution, since Winnipeg is already moving west next season. Now the issue is what team moves into the Pacific Division? The only other team in the Pacific Time Zone is the Vancouver Canucks. Do they move away from their Canadian rivals? Probably not, even though travel wise this move makes sense. What about the Colorado Avalanche? Well they're probably the ones to move. This sucks for them because now they're moving into a more difficult division. This also sucks for the teams already in the division because they're again, traveling more. The flights from LA, Anaheim, and San Jose to Phoenix are shorter than those to Colorado. Then there's the altitude issue, and it's affect on already severely traveled teams. Either way it blows. The Coyotes staying put is the best scenario.
|No more games where you get to stare at Taylor Pyatt's eyes? The Pacific Division is really getting screwed over!|
The Northwest/Central Divisions
These two divisions would also be greatly affected by the Coyotes moving. Again let's say the Coyotes move East, how does that affect the teams in these two divisions?
- Realignment within the divisions. Some one's gotta move into the Pacific, and Winnipeg has to fit in somewhere as well. My educated guess would be the Avalanche move into the Pacific, that leaves the Northwest with a spot to fill. It would most likely be filled by Winnipeg, why? Because they're in Canada. It makes travel easier for them because they don't need to go through customs 5,000 times a season to play their divisional rivals (even though having a division span three time zones sucks! But hey, geography man). Sorry Minnesota!
- What about Detroit or Columbus wanting to go East? Well tough luck! With Phoenix moving East the Red Wings and Blue Jackets can kiss their dreams of moving East goodbye (at least for one more year, or until they figure realignment out).
- Travel to Quebec. Yep all Western Conference teams will need to travel at least twice out there if the Coyotes spend a bum year in the West. Sounds like fun.
|The "White Out" playoff theme would make 1000% more sense somewhere it actually snows, so there's a positive I guess.|
The Southeast Division
The lonely Southeast Division would once again be baring the brunt of a moving franchise.
- Guess who's going into your division? Quebec City! Oh joy of joys! A whole year of traveling to Winnipeg, and now a whole year of traveling to Quebec City. Sucks to be you Florida and Tampa Bay!
- What about in two seasons? Well here's where things get tricky, can the league let Quebec stay in the Southeast Division? No. That would mean A.) A massive realignment is necessary, or B.) moving another team, who is geographically closer, into the Southeast.
The Atlantic and Northeast Divisions
Here's where things get fun, and where NBC and TV ratings politics get messy.
- A team from the Atlantic Division would need to move into the Southeast. Yes, how fun for everyone. The closest team geographically is Philadelphia, but seriously would they leave their other Atlantic Division rivals? Of course not! Four less games a year between the Penguins and Rangers? Yea right try and get that past the NBC people. There's also the issue of the Flyers being owned by Comcast, which surprise, also owns NBC! Yay Politics! So yea not gonna happen. So who moves? Pittsburgh? Nope, not good for ratings. The Rangers? HAHA yea right. The only possible teams would be New Jersey and the Islanders. My bet is the Islanders, since A.) They're already having issues with a new arena and a move might be happening, and B.) they don't pull in the ratings. Sorry Isles.
- Which Northeast team moves into the Atlantic? My guess is Buffalo. They're already on MSG, and four extra games against the Devils and Rangers would be easy. Have fun playing Ryan Miller two extra games a year guys!
- O Canada! So Boston how does it feel to play in a division with only Canadian teams? Fun I bet. I'm sure Bruins fans are elated right now.
So yea not a lot of upside there. Overall this plan pisses off pretty much all the teams, including really pissing off the Red Wings (I'm sure some of you are OK with this). This plan also makes the Atlantic an even tougher division, if that's even possible. It also royally screws over the Western Conference (a long standing tradition apparently). So am I happy the Coyotes are most likely staying in Phoenix? Of course I am, and you should be too.