On the bright side, at least there is no chance of a lockout

The NHL has been quite busy today. First of all, we have the 2011 Entry Draft tonight from St. Paul, MN, which the first round will be televised on the Versus network from 7 – 11 PM EDT.  We also have the Winnipeg ownership has decided to rename the team formerly known as the Atlanta Thrashers as the Jets. That is to say, they will known as the team that is now known as the Phoenix Coyotes. (Don’t laugh NFL fans, you have the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens, which used be the original Cleveland Browns.) To me, the most interesting story is the release of the NHL’s 2011-2012 schedule. There are two things that stand out right away. One is that the New York Rangers return to their vagabond roots to start the season. They open with two games in Stockholm, Sweden; then travel to play their closest rival, the Islanders; then venture out to a tour of western Canada, before they get to play in the renovated Madison Square Garden. Plus, they will visit Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA as they will play the Flyers in NBC’s Winter Classic on January 2, 2012. It is more than likely that there will be a majority of Ranger fans in their first three games when they play in Henrik Lundqvist’s home country, and in the outdated and sparsely attended Nassau Coliseum. The other is the new Winnipeg Jets’ schedule itself. The fact that remained unchanged after their move from Atlanta is interesting. Did the NHL not see this relocation coming? (I hope not.) How long will Winnipeg remain in the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference? There are 7 teams in the Western Conference that are east of Winnipeg, (including Dallas by being just 21 minutes of longitude east). Here is the most logical choice: move the Nashville Predators from the Central to the Southeast Division; place the Jets in the Northwest Division, and move the Minnesota Wild from the Northwest to the Central Division. What the NHL will or will not do after the ’11-’12 season is another story. Of course, my relocation plan can be completely monkey wrenched if the original Winnipeg Jets or the New York Islanders get sold and relocate to another city – say Kansas City perhaps?


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