As we have previously discussed, the NHL plans to move ahead with plans for realignment next year, assuming the NHLPA eventually agrees with the proposal. To refresh your memory, here is a map of the new divisions:
And here is the plan for how the conference games in the season will shake out:
Teams in the Western Conference will play 32 games against the Eastern Conference (one home, one road), 21 games against opponents in the other Western division (extra home game will be rotated each year) and 29 games against their own division (one team will be played four times instead of five times).
The Sharks beat one of their future division rivals last night in Vancouver, and they face another one tonight in Calgary. They don't complete the swing by visiting Edmonton this time, but with so many games against these Northern foes in the cards for next season and beyond, it's likely (unless the schedule makers are drunk, dumb, and/or insane) that we will see each California team make a least one all-Western-Canada road trip per season. For the same travel efficiency reasons that dictate other teams often play all three California teams in a row when they come to the Golden State, the California Three (and also the stupid Coyotes) will probably play the Canucks, , and Oilers in consecutive games on a regular basis starting next year.
This also means that, in the grand tradition of this blog, we need to think of a name for the eventuality of one of our teams traveling north of the border and emerging with three victories...or three defeats.
Unfortunately, any sort of state/province assault won't really work for this situation, as Vancouver isn't in the same province as Edmonton and Calgary. Additionally, most fun Canadian stereotypes fall apart when you try to apply them to the city of Vancouver, so that also limits our options here. It's a bummer.
I'll offer some of my ideas for what to call three consecutive victories/defeats while visiting the Canadian Pacific Division teams below. Please let us know in the comments if you like any of these names or if you have ideas that you think might be better.
Suggested names for three consecutive victories for the visiting California team:
Golden State Shower
USA! USA! USA!
RudyKelly Memorial Great White North Sploogefest
Region Beating (this one can work for either victories or losses)
Suggested names for three consecutive losses for the visiting California team:
Milk Bag Beatdown
Canada Dry Hump
So what do you think, folks? Do you like any of these, or do you think you can do better? Share your thoughts, and I'll eventually organize a poll.
Prediction: Sharks win 5-3, because the Flames are bad.