St. Louis Blues fans have been hoping for the NHL to return soon. A proposed divisional change is a nightmare return.
For quite some time, St. Louis Blues fans have known their division for 2021 would likely not be the Central Division as we had come to know it. The pandemic was going to force the Canadian teams to have their own division.
Even prior to the NHL and players’ union officially ratifying the CBA, we knew Canada’s lockdown would cause problems. I won’t go into personal feelings on that, or else I may be canceled, but it is forcing the NHL to come up with creative ways to get around a 14-day quarantine to enter the country and restrictions on crossing the border.
That means putting all six teams north of the border in their own division. The rest of the divisions have been up for debate.
Of course, we know that the league’s precious east coast teams can’t be broken up. The idea of 30 minute flights to most cities is too appealing to those teams for them to give an inch.
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It’s the teams in the middle, the south and the west that have to make all the concessions. Unfortunately, the Blues will really get the shaft if Pierre LeBrun’s prediction for temporary divisional realignment comes true.
Blues fans normally love the playoffs for the atmosphere. They hate playoff game times since the Blues always get put into the late-night slot, even if they are not playing a west coast team.
They better get used to late nights. There is now a good chance they’ll be one of the odd teams out and placed with the more western teams.
In LeBrun’s proposed divisions, the Blues have to make all those dreaded west coast trips. The only team in their time zone would be the Dallas Stars. The only divisional opponents they’d stick with are Dallas and the Colorado Avalanche.
I get that someone in the Central was going to get the shaft. The funny thing is that, in reality, Minneapolis is actually farther west than St. Louis.
It’s also upsetting to lose divisional rivalries with Chicago and Nashville in this scenario.
The worst part, as mentioned, is the time of it all. While there are no solid indications of how the schedule would be divided up or if it would be only divisional, there is a scenario that can easily be imagined to where 50% of the Blues games are at 9 pm or later.
As someone whose day job now requires me to get up before 6 am, that is not something I am on board for at all. There are a lot of Blues fans in the same boat.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, I suppose. However, this proposal from LeBrun comes at an awful time.
Just a day after we had the excitement of seeming on the cusp of a new season, we get slapped in the face by the age-old feeling of being the NHL’s red headed step child.
Of course, this is just one proposal – one that is only being put forth by a contributor to NHL Network, not an actual NHL official. I still prefer the realignment that keeps the Blues with teams more to the east.
Unfortunately, there is no perfect solution to any realignment. Evidence of this is shown by the Arizona Coyotes joining the Central Division for 2021-22 after the Seattle Kraken enter the league with the Pacific Division.
We will see how it all shakes out. Most are predicting that this is decided by the third week of December, but who knows. Nothing is official until it is official these days.