Hello hockey fans! PUCK YOU! has returned for another installment! We are about 1/3 of the way into the 2011 – 2012 NHL season, and it is time to address what hockey fans think about a number of issues and events that have occurred. It’s going to be controversial, as always, and as exciting as watching a bunch of 9 year old kids from Kazakhstan brawl!
Click below for part one of this installment of PUCK YOU!. Part 2 will be online on Friday, December 30, 2011.
Full video here.
Don’t beat your head against the wall if you’re sick of hearing about concussions, because in this first question we are talking about something else… if Laviolette allows us to, that is.
Question 1: Next season, the organization of conferences and divisions will completely change. There will be four new conferences as detailed below (conference names pending):
1. Anaheim, Calgary, Colorado, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose & Vancouver.
2. Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis & Winnipeg.
3. Boston, Buffalo, Florida, Montreal, Ottawa, Tampa Bay & Toronto.
4. Carolina, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh & Washington.
What are your thoughts about this change? Good? Bad? Don’t care? Why?
ThatDamnDoubleC Whomever put the Dallas Stars in the same bracket as both Winnipeg and Columbus.. thank you. Thank You very much. Now if only we could find someone who can score, otherwise you may as well call us the Dallas Sporadics. Once every five games isn’t good enough Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson, I can’t rely on former Stars to score all my fantasy points (aka James Neal). The one bonus about Crosby still suffering from his being a big girls blouse, is James Neal is scoring.. which is good for my fantasy team. The simple fact that Pavelski, Marleau and Thornton only want to score when they are not in my fantasy team, means I need guys like Neal to score.
As for the re-alignment of the conferences, which is what the question is about in the first place. It seems that the main complaint is that a team can finish fifth, and have higher points than a team that finishes fourth in the other conference. For example, the LA Kings would have missed the playoffs last season despite having more points than the Blackhawks and the Stars, due to the Kings being in a different conference than the Blackhawks and Stars. I personally see no problem with it. It does leave open the chance of what happened with the Seattle Seahawks in last season’s NFL playoffs, in which they won their division with a losing 7-9 record, and yet got home field advantage against the 12-4 New Orleans Saints. But the NHL needs to do something different, now that the NBA have decided they want to see the Miami Heat choke again, and re-jigging the conferences could be the answer. As for the naming of the conferences.. I’d name the conference that Buffalo are in, the Brett Hull conference.. purely for shits and giggles. Well it’d annoy a few Sabres fans that I know, but it’d make me laugh, especially if the Sabres won the Brett Hull trophy for best in conference. Ah the irony.
Bruce McGee: Easiest sports question I have been asked all year. I don’t care about this change in division’s etc etc. I will say it has been entertaining to watch the pathetic traditionalists, attempt to come up with rational arguments why it shouldn’t happen.
G: This is a much better setup. The best teams have a chance to play each other in the Stanley Cup Finals, time zones and travel times become a little more even… this will lessen the constant whining about who has the worst travel conditions, and that one Conference is misrepresented in the Finals.
Detroit continues to get closer to being in the East where they belong… and no city with a team whose name begins with “New” has to deal with that pesky Canadian market as often.
Furthermore, I am not against realignment of any kind. As the league expands and teams move to new markets, it is essential. It has changed numerous times over the history of the league, and it will change again.
I am quite happy that the three Western Canadian teams remain together (as they geographically should). This means lots of great heated matches between the Oilers, Flames, and Canucks on Saturday’s Hockey Night In Canada.
Armchair MVP: I like the new conference design, as it addresses almost all the geographic concerns that various teams had, and puts many historic rivals together in the same divisions again. However there are a few things I don’t like. How exactly can the Florida teams be considered “Northeast”? Also, there are going to be scenarios where the 5th place team in an 8-team conference is far better than the 4th place team in a 7-team conference, but does not make the playoffs. In a perfect system the top 16 teams in points would make the playoffs, in my mind. One last thing I found interesting is that the Eastern conferences (3 and 4) both have 7 teams while the Western ones (1 and 2) both have 8. Perhaps the NHL is anticipating a Western team, like Phoenix, moving East sometime soon?
Al Creed: Honestly, I like this new system. It seems evenly distributed (I know having two Florida teams in the same conference as the former Northeast division may seem silly, but by comparison, it’s fair, as far as travel is concerned). It KILLS the horrid Division Leader rule, and returns the playoffs to a structure I’m sure hockey purists will prefer (the top four in a division move on), and furthermore, as far as I understand it, it creates a whole new playoff dynamic. For instance, Boston could play Philadelphia, or Vancouver could play Chicago for the Stanley Cup. It makes things really interesting.
ThinkSoJoE: For me, I like it. The only team I really perceive as a huge threat to Buffalo in their conference is Boston. A healthy Sabres team could give any of the other teams in that division a run for their money at any time. I’ve heard something about a new point system too, but not enough to give any kind of thought on it. As far as the divisions, I’m good with it. Just wondering how they’ll handle future All-Star Games.
Al Creed noted that this animated gif could have just as easily been a single image. He’s right, you know.
Question 2: Earlier in the year, a matchup between the Flyers and Lightning demonstrated how effective the 1-3-1 defensive formation of Tampa was, to the extent of creating a complete stalemate in play. Philadelphia players recognized their inability to move the puck against this modern “trap” formation, and refused to attempt to move the puck. The result was the Flyers stopping play for almost a minute of game time and idle in their defensive zone. Does the NHL need to address this style of defense to prevent boredom for fans, much like that caused by the New Jersey Devil’s infamous “clutch and grab” approach of the 1990′s/early 2000′s?
Armchair MVP: I don’t think the NHL needs to combat this directly, just for the simple reason that it doesn’t seem to have happened again since. It’s more of an isolated incident than anything, from what we’ve seen since, so the NHL should focus on more important things.
Al Creed: Yes. It’s goddamned boring to watch, and it’s counter-productive for the NHL, considering the type of product they’re trying to present, if they allow stuff like the Lightning’s 1-3-1 crap to continue. The Flyers addressed the issue the best way they could, by basically stopping the game entirely.
Bruce McGee: The league does not need to make another rule to stop defenses like the 1 3 1. I think we have enough rules already. In my mind teams need to learn to break trap defenses and move on. Instead of acting like a bunch of entitled babies and essentially stopping the game. There are always ways to break or work around defenses and so finding away to get by this one is only a matter of time.
ThatDamnDoubleC The Flyers are pussies. Whining pussies. Hi, I’m a Philadelphia Flyer, and they’re playing some kind of formation, and we don’t like it, so we’re just gonna improve our passing accuracy, because we’re too scared. Man up Flyers. So what if a team wants to use a defensive formation? Formations work. Doesn’t anyone remember when Team USA used the Flying V to score in Mighty Ducks 2? and if Joshua Jackson can use it, then formations must work. I’m actually quite surprised no other team has used formations like this so far this season. Every other sport I can think of uses formations. Even table tennis players use the ‘You must be some kind of asian to win in this game’ formation to win Olympic Gold medals and the such. Sure that last comment may have been offensive, but it’s true. It’s not the formation that’s the problem, it’s the Flyers inability to move the puck through it. If you were good enough, you’d be able to score goals no matter how the other team plays. The Lightning proved that it worked, so they’ll keep doing it, and other teams will follow suit. It’s the rest of the league’s responsibility to find a strategy to play through it and score. It will only prevent boredom if you are complete pussies like the Flyers, and get scared because the Lightning got organized defensively. More strategy just adds another element to the game, which pulled off correctly, can be a massive advantage, like it was for the Lightning against the Flyers, and the Ducks in Mighty Ducks 2. Although, I don’t know if getting coaching ideas from Emilio Estevez is the best idea in the world, but it seems to be working so far.
G: I am not a fan of boring hockey. If a game appears to be slow moving (like a Big Show versus Mark Henry match), I fast forward through it or stop watching and find something else to do. I tend to record most games and play catch up an hour in so I can skip ads and cliche player interviews.
With that being said, I hate the 1 – 3 – 1 formation. However, it is within the current rules. At this point, it is far too early in development as a strategy to assume it will ruin the sport (like the New Jersey trap model did for many fans). I think that we are more likely to see a change in rules towards preventing concussions before this issue is dealt with. And, if those changes also impact Tampa’s boring style of play to a more exciting product, I’m all for it.
ThinkSoJoE: Isn’t the main goal to get more eyes on the product? If the other teams aren’t going to figure out a way around the 1-3-1 defense, then the league will probably have to find a way to stop it.
This season, the PUCK YOU! crew started an NHL fantasy pool on Yahoo Sports. If you would like to see who we drafted and how we are doing, click here.
It’s a very close race at the top for our regular season champion.
We are participating in head-to-head style of play, where each week will have two fantasy teams square off against each other in an attempt to capture each category for skaters and goalies, and ultimately, bragging rights. While this pool is barely underway, do you have any “special” messages you’d like to send out to your current opponent and/or the whole pool in general?
ThatDamnDoubleC Pool talk? Wonderpond online has a pool? Is it safe to swim in, or has someone laid a doody in there? I can’t believe I just used the word doody to describe poo. How old am I? Six? Why do I want to take the gloves off? I’ll just do what Sheriff Shanahan does and jump into the crowd. Besides, it wouldn’t matter if Sheriff Shanahan was here, I’ll just be Milan Lucic. That way, I can smack around anybody I feel like, and I’ll still be playing the next night. I give props to the scoring system in the pool. Because I go from being two points up, to two points behind, and yet only ended up with one point less than Joe. How does any of that make fucking sense? I wish I knew how the scoring system worked.. Maybe I should look into that? Ah well, it doesn’t matter. I’m already in the playoffs. Yeah, take that Coyotes! I’m in the playoffs already, are you? Didn’t think so! Another reason why I should have more twitter followers than the Coyotes. Also, I wonder if G realizes that in order to type up this trash talk, we’d have to not wear gloves. Especially hockey gloves. How hard would it be to type in hockey gloves? You would have to be some kind of magician to do that. Although, he does live in Canada, so he’s probably used to doing everything in hockey gloves.
G: After looking at how close the points spread is at this point, I can’t take too much pride at being first place. Screw that, I take ALL THE PRIDE at being number one. No all I need is to find a bridge, a can of gas, and some matches.
Al Creed: Ladies and Gentlemen, I will admit it. I am the New York Islanders of the Fantasy Hockey world.
ThinkSoJoE: Dude, I’m down 10-1 in my fantasy matchup this week, so I think my current 1st place standing may head out the window by time I get back from vacation.
The next part will be released this Friday, December 30, 2011. When it is up, click here to read that installment. This link will not work until Friday.
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