If there’s one thing we know for sure heading into this season, it’s that there is a lot of hype surrounding the new division alignments.
With the Edmonton Oilers playing in the North Division alongside the other Canadian teams there are already conversations around the alignment sticking beyond this year.
“A few executives and agents believe the Canadian Division should be given permanent consideration — that guaranteeing four of those teams a playoff spot and one a Final Four spot would drive up revenues and raise the cap,” wrote Elliotte Friedman in his 31 thoughts column released earlier today. “As a Sportsnet employee, sign me up. But I admit that, personally, I’m not crazy about anyone being guaranteed anything.
“However, as producer Matt Marstrom pointed out after Jeff Marek and I discussed it on this week’s podcast, Seattle’s arrival makes it more challenging from a numbers perspective. I’m excited for this season. I’m excited to see how it will play out, and how the league changes because of what’s happened. It’s a step into the unknown, and we all take it together.”
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We haven’t even seen a single Canadian team play yet and there are already people clamouring for more. If that doesn’t hint at what’s to come, I don’t know what is.
As a Canadian hockey fan, I want to see Canadian teams in the playoffs. The Stanley Cup, after all, belongs in Canada where it was born. The Oilers and Leafs, respectively, are likely the closest teams to winning a cup and bringing it back north of the 49th parallel.
The Habs in 1993 are the last Canadian team to win a cup and while it might be more indicting of teams like the 1994 Canucks, 2004 Flames, 2006 Oilers, 2007 Senators and 2011 Canucks — the only Canadian clubs to play in the finals since — I want to see more of it.
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I, for one, can’t wait to see what happens with the way the games are played this year. It’s really going to feel like a 56-game playoff season followed by more playoffs.
On Twitter: @zjlaing