Friday, October 05, 2007

Another crazy idea for the NHL

Slate's Nate DiMeo makes the case for introducing relegation into hockey, and while I don't think he's quite got a handle on how this would work (i.e. the Halifax Mooseheads in the Stanley Cup final), I'd be lying if I said this was an idea I'd never thought of before.

Of course, never going to happen — but it certainly would make for compelling drama at the bottom of the standings if Phoenix's tank job (which failed last night by the way) would mean they were headed for the minors.


At 3:16 p.m., October 05, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure how we would work the relegation, but how about an annual tournament similar to the FA Cup?

At 3:33 p.m., October 05, 2007, Blogger Fronti said...

Relegation works in soccer because all the teams are independently owned and operated. Minor leagues here don't work that way.

At 3:40 p.m., October 05, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How does ownership work in the minor leagues?

I assume that the AHL has independent owners doesn't it?

An FA Cup equivalent would be amazing.

At 4:00 p.m., October 05, 2007, Blogger saskhab said...

If the league is seriously considering Euro expansion, then I think a system like this needs to start to be implemented. I'm not sure how many teams, but I think it's the only way it can work.

Both ideas (Euro expansion and relegation) seem pretty crazy, but who knows.

At 4:13 p.m., October 05, 2007, Blogger Fronti said...

They may have indepenent owners, but they are stocked player-wise mostly by NHL clubs, they are 'minor' leagues, not a 'lesser' league. In order for this to work there would have to be a different feeder system for players.

At 4:32 p.m., October 05, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am all for it. The current system is failing and will continue to fail both economically for the owners and entertainment-wise for the fans. I think some kind of relegation system could work and could improve things.

At 4:32 p.m., October 05, 2007, Blogger YzermanZetterberg said...

Personally, I've felt for the last few years that:

A.) The NHL will eventually expand to Europe and/or merge with top-tier European leagues

B.) Relegation would probably be a part of that scenario.

For example, the current NHL might be divided into "A" (20 teams) and "B" leagues (10 teams), both of which could potentially continue to be fed by AHL teams. The lowest 2-3 teams in the A league would be relegated to the B league, and the top 2-3 in B would move up to A.

The champion of the A league (or "North American Conference" of the "World Hockey League") would play against the champion of the "European Conference" for...drum roll, please...the Bettman Cup (GAAAK!).


At 4:50 p.m., October 05, 2007, Blogger Mike said...

I like relegation as a concept, but I don't have the foggiest how that could work with a players' union. Are European soccer players unionized?

At 4:54 p.m., October 05, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's an easy problem to solve. Just break the union at the next CBA negotiation.

At 9:31 p.m., October 05, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 12:53 a.m., October 06, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure how relegation would coexist with the draft system. Where would you cut off the draft lottery? If only teams in the top division got to pick, it would tend to entrench them there. But if you relegated, say, the Penguins after they drafted Crosby, how would that work? You'd have one of your most marketable stuck down in the boonies. Not to mention what would happen to TV revenues if teams from the biggest markets got dumped down.

At 1:48 a.m., October 06, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This won't work. Just think about it... Crosby in minors for six years? Any NHL player or team in minors?

At 6:12 a.m., October 06, 2007, Blogger Danny Pugsley said...

The idea is potentially a nice one but it wouldn't operate with 'minor' teams as is currently. There is also the problem of affiliations which could cause conflict of interest within a league.

Basically you could any number of divisions within the league structure - ie, in soccer here in the UK you have the Premiership and then three lower divisions before getting to the 'non-league' set up (most of which are part time).

You could still operate a playoff system as this could determine promotion and relegation.

It won't ever exist unless you split it just into two divisions from the current NHL teams as the draft would simply not work in a league structure of 100 or so teams - this is something the union would never agree to.

Two divisions from the current set up could work but the danger you would have is some of the smaller market teams could languish in the lower divisions and potentially go out of business.


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