For the record, I actually really like the re-alignment that’s happening in the NHL next year. It’s not perfect, but it makes sense for the most part. I even love having Florida and Tampa Bay in the same division as Montreal and Toronto since there are so many snowbirds down there in the winter and it’s only a 3-hour flight anyway. Makes sense to me.

What doesn’t make sense to me is why the NHL is stubbornly insisting of ludicrous geographical designations for the new divisions.

The league announced the names today: Atlantic, Metropolitan, Central and Pacific.

Yes, Metropolitan.

What in the what?

The Metropolitan Division will consist of the three New York City metropolitan region teams and Pittsburgh (not NYC metro), Columbus (definitely not NYC metro), Washington (nope, not NYC metro), Carolina (wouldn’t know NYC metro if NYC metro walked up to it and said “hi, I’m NYC metro”), and Philadelphia (kind of, sort of close to NYC metro, but not NYC metro).

So this is basically the NHL declaring in advance of the 2013-14 season that it is officially biased pro-NYC. Imagine how we’d feel in Montreal if they called the Canadiens’ division the GTA Division because the Maple Leafs are in it? This is basically that, but for New York. You can’t even make an argument that it’s been so named because all of the cities in it have large metro areas – Columbus has a population of 104 (actually, just shy of 800,000).

But that’s not the only dumb name.

The Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Red Wings, Bruins, Sabres, Panthers, Senators and Lightning will play in the Atlantic. Yes, the Atlantic.

Let’s look at a map:

AtlanticDivSo you’ve got a division named in theory after its cities being on the ocean, but five of the eight teams are nowhere near it (Tampa is at least close, but it’s a Gulf town, not an Atlantic town).

Wouldn’t it have made more sense if the NHL was insisting of geographical designations to call the Metropolitan the Atlantic and come up with a better name for the Atlantic like the Eastern Division?

The funny thing is that the Western divisions are a lot more sensible. Sure, calling Calgary, Phoenix and Edmonton “Pacific” teams is a bit of a stretch, but at least four of the seven teams lie directly on the Pacific Ocean. As for Central, yeah, those teams are pretty much Central. No real complaints there.

This is really just an exercise in being stupidly stubborn when there are perfectly good names available. You don’t like Adams, Patrick, Norris and Smythe? Ok, then how about Gretzky, Orr, Howe and Richard? Or Sawchuk, Harvey, Esposito and Dionne? Or, or, or…

What they’ve chosen now is just plain dumb.