The Paper Feature: Dear Gary Bettman, the Pacific Division is too hard

Dear Gary Bettman, and to whomever else it may concerns, because it definitely concerns me,

The Pacific Division is too hard.

There. I said it. It’s just too hard. There are too many good teams in it. It’s too competitive. I don’t like it. I don’t think anyone else likes it. I think you should fix it.

I mean, Gary, dude, have you seen this division you created? It’s a gauntlet of terror. It’s like classic NES game Battletoads. But harder. Consider: at the time of this writing, there are four teams in the NHL that have scored 60 or more goals. Three of those teams are in the Pacific Division. Three!

And speaking of three, there are three teams in the Eastern Conference with 11 wins. But in the Pacific Division alone, there are five. Five! That’s two more teams, although I probably didn’t need to tell you that. I know you’re pretty good at math, since we saw how you fleeced the players during the last lockout — and kudos on that, by the way. Way to go. This isn’t sucking up or anything, by the way. I’m just a big fan of your work.

But while I have your attention, Gare Bear — can I call you Gare Bear? — I’m thinking another realignment is in order. I think we can all agree that this one just isn’t working. First there’s that whole business with the Metropolitan Division. What kind of stupid name is that? Whatever bozo — oh, that was you? Good call on the Metropolitan Division. You solved a difficult problem with that catch-all term.

As for the rest of it, though, it’s time to change it up. Like, I get it — you’re trying to make the geography and the time zones work and all that, but that’s hardly a hard and fast rule. You’ve got the Florida teams in the Atlantic division. There’s a little wiggle room here.

And, I mean, sure, you finally got the Detroit Red Wings and the Columbus Blue Jackets out of the West and into the East. Way to go there. I know they’ve been nagging you about that for years. But have you looked at the Eastern Conference lately? It’s embarrassing. The Canucks would be tied for first place in the East. Instead, they’re fourth in their Division. Columbus has 12 points. Luckily, they’re in the Metro division, where that’s only six points out of a playoff spot.

Remember during the summer when people looked at the West’s 14 teams, then looked at the East’s 16 teams, and complained it was going to be easier to make the playoffs in the West? I think we can all agree that was a smokescreen designed to make you miss the free ride you were giving the East.

You’ve been duped, Gary. Columbus and Detroit saw that the East was easier, and they wanted in. They’re probably laughing at you right now. No one laughs at Gary Bettman. No one.

The only answer here is to re-realign.

Here’s what I’m thinking: bring back the Northwest Division. Or Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton, at least. Looking at the Colorado Avalanche’s record, they’re thriving in a more central division, and we’d hate to mess with a good thing there. They can stay. Maybe in their place you can send over, I don’t know, Buffalo? A change of scenery might do the Sabres some good. It’ll mean some long flights for them, but that just means more time to go over game tape, and I think we can both agree that they could use more time to go over game tape.

The Wild can stay out too. They’re flourishing in the Central. Maybe Winnipeg instead? They’ll be right at home among the other Canadian teams. I think it’s a good fit — good, Canadian division. Don Cherry will love it.

Admittedly, that’s a pretty soft division. But I think it’s fairer, don’t you? Gary. Listen. The San Jose Sharks have picked up points in 15 of 17 games. They’re in third place in this division, and six points out of first. Six! That’s insane. You don’t want this. Nobody wants this.

I’ve asked around town, and it’s nearly unanimous: we want a new division. If you care about the Canucks at all, and I know you do, you honestly do, you’ll consider taking another crack at realignment, placing the Canucks in a division where an even goal differential is more than acceptable, and 11 wins after 20 games means something again.

Because this is too much. It’s too hard. It’s not what we’re used to over here and I don’t think you should let it continue.

Looking forward to hearing your positive response,

Harrison Mooney

***

Tweet Podium

This feature takes a moment to recognize the best tweets of the week, because we’re online-type writers and Twitter is an online-type thing. If you see a great Canucks-related tweet, send us a link. Or plagiarize it and bask in its glory.

BRONZE

You mean they’re not the same guy? Oh man, I have to go change my fantasy lineup.

SILVER

 

John Tortorella loves two things in life: dogs and blocked shots. If dogs could block shots, Tortorella would die from happiness.

GOLD

 

I thought it was a viable strategy. Not sure why they went away from it.

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12 comments

  1. Aaron
    November 13, 2013

    I loved the article! Some very good points about realignment! Ok seriously i love the sarcasm and wit you guys have.

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  2. Liam
    November 13, 2013

    I have been trying to remember the name Battletoads for far too many years. Thank you, profoundly.

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  3. Frank N.
    November 13, 2013

    Yes!!

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  4. cathylu
    November 13, 2013

    I know they used to call the Northwest a “cupcake” division but I agree that they went too far the other way with the “new” Pacific division. But hey, whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right?? Right??? **whimpers**

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    • PD
      November 13, 2013

      Who says it’s not going to kill us?

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  5. akidd
    November 13, 2013

    i know you’re kidding around here but…is it really that much of a stretch to have a league with a semi-balanced quality of competition for most teams? and wasn’t that on puckdaddy where some fool, er, misguided prognosticator was making a case this summer that the east was now the juggernaut? hair trigger over there in tier 2. oh well, at least they’re insecure for a reason.

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    • Nee
      November 13, 2013

      In reality, having balanced quality of competition isn’t really realistic. You’re talking about shifting division compositions every few years then, as different teams rise and fall.

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      • Amor de Cosmos
        November 13, 2013

        Do you want to watch competitive games for eight months, or would you rather a cosy ride into the play-offs?

        Based on recent experience the latter is likely to mean a short-post season. The former might too of course, but at least — unlike last year — there might be some excitement to remember.

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      • akidd
        November 13, 2013

        no, i know it’s not realistic, nee. there’s not much you can do i suppose. it just seems like forever that the west has been so much stronger. you hear the eastern pundits going on about this team or that and how dangerous they are and then the pens or capitals or whomever come to town and smoosh…for the most part.

        you see how dogged a team like phoenix is year after year. hardworking, tight-checking, makers of few mistakes, and it’s never an easy two points, (nor very entertaining, except for the occasional strange game.) and the west is stacked with teams like that. and now the pacific division is really stacked with teams like that, except for the good ol’ , always-generous oilers and flames of course.

        oh well. more high-calibre hockey for us i suppose. yay!

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        • akidd
          November 13, 2013

          it’s like we got put in a divison with terminator, predator, superman, and God (and the oilers and flames.) meanwhile out east they get papa smurf, garfield, miley cyrus, the panthers, and a really weak, luke-warm cup of jasmine tea…and they call it the same league:)

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        • Nee
          November 14, 2013

          I get what you’re saying though…it’s a bit frustrating to watch Western teams fighting tooth and nail to get into the playoffs while the East can have much poorer records and still make the playoffs.

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  6. Quirky
    November 13, 2013

    Must really hurt having to say nice things about Bettman like that. Almost like a stinging feeling deep in your soul.

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