The NHL announced they have finally agreed to a new realignment plan this week and it has the hockey world a flutter. Four conferences and a revamped playoff structure have many people debating the pros and cons of this new system.
On the surface it seems exciting and full of new opportunities.
What will it mean for Vancouver?
The good news is that if the new system was in place today, Vancouver would be leading their conference. So they have that going for them.
Overall, this change will be good for the Canucks and their fans.
Here are five reasons to be excited about NHL realignment. How do you feel about the change?
For years the Canucks have been one of the teams that have had to travel the most in the NHL. While there is no scientific evidence this hinders a team, logic would dictate that it does.
This will have an extra bonus during the first round of the playoffs.
With the new conferences, the first round of the playoffs will be within Vancouver’s conference. Last year’s seven-game back-and-forth to Chicago won’t happen in the first round.
Could less travel give the Canucks less trouble? Keep them more rested for the later rounds? Again, logic would seem it would. In either case, that excuse will be gone from the fans' arsenal.
Not to mention that as a fan, you have fewer games that start at 4:30 p.m. that you miss all of while you are at work.
The new NHL schedule has Vancouver, and every team, playing each team in the league at least once at home.
This is good news no matter which team you root for. Now we will get a chance to see every team and every big star play in Vancouver at least once. You won’t have to wait a couple of years to see Crosby, Ovechkin and all the other East Coast stars.
These games will big draws and have a fun atmosphere about them. It’s always good to see where you match up with the big wigs out East.
Now, the drawback is that Vancouver fans will have to see more of the Panthers, but at least that way they will get to see all the former Canucks playing there again.
This might seem strange, but the new conference means more home games for Vancouver. Don't laugh, it is true.
The new schedule calls for six games against your conference foes, three in each team’s building. This means that the Canucks will now play three games in Phoenix, Los Angeles, Anaheim and San Jose.
Over the past few years Vancouver fans have flooded these buildings making them homes away from home. So, in that sense, Vancouver will be playing in front of more friendly crowds.
Now, this make fans in those places hate the Canucks more than they probably already do, but we’ve all agreed that we are going to embrace the hate, right?
The Canucks will miss seeing their good friends the Blackhawks as much as they used to. This new conference setup, though, will allow them to hate new teams and new faces.
Last year’s playoffs already raised the temperature between the Sharks and the Canucks, and now they will see each six times. The same goes for the Ducks, Coyotes and Kings.
Soon Vancouver fans will see red when they see a picture of Anze Kopitar.
Also, having the first-round playoff series be within conference will help speed these rivalries along, and that is always a good thing.
As good as the Chicago-Vancouver rivalry has been of late, the Canucks' true rivals are the two Alberta teams. Edmonton and Calgary will remain in the Canucks' conference and there will still be many chances for Vancouver fans to enjoy seeing these games.
Granted, the past few years, both of those teams have been in the dumps so the series have been a bit lopsided. However, Edmonton is quickly becoming a better team and there should be some great matchups with them in the coming years.
Some people are worried about the loss of the Blackhawks as a rival. Don’t fret, they will still play each other twice each year so the bad blood will still be there. Plus, now the possibility of a Canucks-Blackhawks Stanley Cup Finals exists.
How great would that be?