Pittsburgh Penguins: 7 Reasons They Oppose NHL Realignment
There have been many different reports on how the actual switches will take shape, including a no-division format. The current buzz is the format reported by CBS's Elliote Friedman.
The Penguins front office is said to be highly displeased with this format. Fans are also unreceptive of this idea across the board.
In this format, the Pittsburgh Penguins division mates would be as follows:
While there may be nothing that can be done about the move, there are many reasons why the Pittsburgh Penguins are opposed to this division. Here, we take a look at seven of them.
Expanded International Travel
With three Canadian teams in the proposed division, the team believes that travel will be a bit more difficult. Clearing customs both ways—especially returning to the United States—is always a hassle that adds time to a trip.
There also is the potential for increased distractions with additional trips to hockey's homeland. Media presence will surely be heavy for any trip that Sidney Crosby makes to Toronto or Montreal.
Deja Vu All over Again
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Does anyone remember the mid-1990s? During those years the Penguins played in a division with Boston, Buffalo, Montreal, Ottawa and the Hartford Whalers.
Watching division games those years were nothing like the current and previous division. There was not the same spark in a game against these teams that there was against the old Patrick Division foes.
That is not intended to be a knock against the old Adams Division foes. It is just the truth.
The Pens were a stranger in that division and would be so once again if forced into this move.
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The Pittsburgh Penguins think highly of themselves as an organization. That may be why you love them, it may be why you hate them.
In their current division, they hog a certain amount of the spotlight because of recent success. This is made easier by the fact that the only Original Six team is the New York Rangers.
A move in to the proposed division would make it more difficult for the Penguins to shine in terms of "branding." They would share the stage with at least three Original Six teams: the Canadiens, Bruins and Maple Leafs.
If the Red Wings were to join the division, then it becomes four Original Six teams. The Penguins just cannot outdo those legacies, and may suffer with a diminished spotlight.
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Overall, the Penguins have had a lot of good fortune after suffering during the early 2000s. The franchise finally has a stable economic situation with stable ownership and a new arena.
The city of Pittsburgh has been more fortunate than most cities during the global financial crisis, so selling tickets has been less of chore than in cities devastated by huge unemployment and extreme foreclosure.
The on-the-ice product is propped up by a lot of the talent earned by top draft picks from the ghastly years of guys like Ramzi Abid, Rico Fata and Milan Kraft. Local television ratings are among the top for hockey in the US.
In terms of events, the Penguins have benefited from playing in two Winter Classic games, two recent Stanley Cup Finals and will host the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
They are hoping that this relationship as a "producer" for the league can buy them a little leverage in determining where their future divisional home will be.
Loss of Atlantic Division Foes
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Losing games against the Atlantic Division foes is one of the main reasons the Penguins are against the move. Less games against the New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils makes the schedule less appealing.
Loss of Games Against the New York Rangers
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Over the years, the New York Rangers have been one of the Penguins' opponents producing the biggest reaction from fans. This probably peaked in the early 1990s when Adam Graves slashed Mario Lemieux in Game 2 of the 1992 Patrick Division Finals, breaking his left hand.
As long as I have been a hockey fan, games between the teams have been fiercely contested. It is respect by intense dislike. Being in a division that does not include the Rangers would be very bad for the Penguins and the rivalry.
Loss of Games Against the Philadelphia Flyers
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Without a doubt, the biggest loss of moving divisions would be losing games against the Philadelphia Flyers. There are only a select few rivalries in the league that can match the nastiness of these games.
Take all the reasons you would not want to see the Rangers on the schedule less and multiply it by 10 and you have an idea of what it would mean to leave the division the Flyers are in.
The teams and fans hate each other. But, we would sure miss you Flyers if this plan takes off.