You most likely know Brian Slagel as the CEO and founder of Metal Blade Records. But what you might not know about him is that he’s a die hard hockey fan as well. He’s given Metal Insider his playoff picks many times in the past. This time, though, we asked Slagel to give us his take on the NHL’s new realignment plan. Here’s what he had to say:
I actually really like the NHL realignment that will come into play next season. I think the pluses outweigh the minuses. Let’s look at both of those and see where we go!
Pluses- This does seem to make a lot of teams much happier in terms of rivalries and travel. I personally love the fact that Edmonton and Calgary are back in the same conference as the Kings and Ducks. Certainly with the Kings those were some great rivalries in the 80’s and 90’s! Colorado also comes back into it with San Jose and Vancouver. A big win all around for the way Western teams, I think. Clearly Detroit is happy to play more East Coast teams as well as Columbus. Even though the Florida teams have a bit more travel, fans should be happy to be in the same Conference as Toronto, Montreal, Buffalo and the likes since so many from those areas are in Florida during hockey season.
Pittsburgh, Washington and Philly in the same conference will be tough, but again great rivalries. Also, I love the fact that all teams play each other at least one home and away game. That really evens out the travel all around and great for fans to be able to see the start players live more often.
Minuses- One of the biggest minuses for me is the playoff scenarios. The first 2 rounds are in division and only the top 4 make it. That means there will be some teams not happy for sure. You will see some deserving teams not get in and others may take advantage. Also, the fact there are 2 seven team conferences and 2 8 teams mean it is a bit off balance there as well. Also, what happens to Phoenix if they move east? I suppose that is one reason why there are 2 seven teams conferences in the east.
Overall, though, I do love the way it looks. Nothing is perfect these days, but I think this does address a lot of the current problems. Also, I would love it if we went back to the old school Conference names from the Hockey Greats! How about Howe, Gretzky, Orr and Lemiuex? I am in for that! Meanwhile enjoy the current NHL season!!