The 2013-14 NHL regular season schedules were released earlier today, and I was wrong about the New York Rangers first eight regular season games being on the road because it is actually their first nine games that they will play away from Madison Square Garden due to renovations. But this article is not about the 2013-14 NHL regular season schedules, because that was not the only news the NHL had to offer us fans today.
Along with each teams’ schedules for this upcoming season, the NHL released the names of the new divisions in both the Eastern and Western Conferences. This upcoming season will be the first time since the 1998-99 season that the league will no longer have three divisions in each conference, as they have downsized to two yet again. Good news is that the Atlantic Division is still here. Bad news is that the Rangers are not in it.
Yes, the Rangers, who have been in the Atlantic Division since 1993 and literally my entire hockey fandom life, are now in a new division.
I understand the new realignment and only having two divisions in each conference, but why can’t all of the old Atlantic Division teams, which have been in there since 1998, stay in the division they have inhabited for over a decade?
In the Eastern Conference, the former Northeast Division is now the new Atlantic Division and the once Atlantic Division, with the Rangers, New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers, are all now in the brand new Metropolitan Division.
First thing I did when I heard this news was I called my dad, who has been a Rangers fan since the early 1970s, and when I told him the new division name, he wasn’t shocked, since the division names have changed a few times since he has been a fan, but he did not like the new name and neither do most Rangers fans that I’ve seen writing on social media.
In the Western Conference, however, the NHL has kept two of out the three names from last season. The new two divisions in the West will consist of the Central and Pacific Divisions, only leaving out the now old Northwest Division. So no name changes in the Western Conference.
In my opinion, the NHL could have made it historic if they went back to the old classic division names, from when they had only two divisions in each conference, like the Patrick Division, which the Rangers were in from 1974 to 1993, Smythe Division, Adams Division and Norris Division. A very cool opportunity the NHL had, but once again Commissioner Gary Bettman let it slip through his fingers.
I guess I will just have to get used to the new name since I cannot do anything about it, but I can ask for other Rangers fans’ opinions.
Like or dislike the new Metropolitan Division name?