Well some of the hockey brass at ESPN.com decided it would be a good idea to submit realignment plans for the NHL. Well if John Buccigross can do it, why can't I?
Alright first off, I would relocate the following teams: the Atlanta Thrashers, Phoenix Coyotes, Florida Panthers, and the Tampa Bay Lightning. There's no future for hockey in Florida. And I don't want to hear that the "old folks who retire want to go to the games" bullshit. They root for their teams from back home. If a team is going to move to a new location, it's going to be the young people who create the fan base, not senior citizens. The teams would go to the following locations: Winnepeg, MB; Toronto, ON; Quebec, QC; and an American city...alright, I can live with Seattle, WA. And as to which teams go where, it doesn't really matter.
Well it's obvious the NHL needs to be marketed better. They need to stop saying, "Look at Sidney Crosby! Look at Alex Ovechkin! Look, look! They're good right? Just look!" No, that's not at all how to do it. Why not? Because that's how they've been doing it and it hasn't worked. They need to market hockey. Show non-fans how exciting the game is, not certain players. Show the shootout (which I don't like at all, but it get's non-fans interested, so we'll keep it) and show the speed and skill of scorers as well as goalies. And do you know how to get exposure for the NHL? Put it on ESPN. For Christ's sake, the WNBA is on ESPN! There's no way in hell the WNBA would get higher TV ratings than a Flyers/Penguins game or a Capitals/Bruins game. Most people don't even know what VS is. So, how do you expect people to watch your league if it's on a channel they don't even know exists.
I would change the way the divisions are aligned so rivals play each other more often thus creating higher TV ratings. Some of the division names have been changed as well.
New York Rangers
New York Islanders
Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto (Relocated Team)