Hockey fans have been waiting, rather impatiently, for the 2013-14 NHL season schedule to be released to the public. At least during this offseason, we weren’t also dealing with trying to figure out if there was going to be a lockout or when it was going to end. All week the NHL kept saying you’ll have the schedule tomorrow, but tomorrow really meant “Friday.”
So why the delay in the schedule release?
First, the NHLPA was still meeting with the IIHF to discuss if the league would allow players to participate in the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. It was reported on Wednesday afternoon that the season schedule had already been completed and given to the NHL teams, but they wanted to make the Olympics announcement at the same time as releasing the schedule. On Friday, the NHL finally decided that they will participate in the Olympics this year.
There is no way that this is the only reason why the schedule release was delayed, because as of then, the newly realigned divisions were still being called Divisions A, B, C, D. In addition to coming to an agreement about the Olympics, the league also needed to decide what to name the divisions. So, of course, Commissioner Gary Bettman ignored what fans thought and instead of going back to the old Patrick, Norris, Adams and Smythe Divisions or even going with the ever popular Gretzky, Lemieux, Orr and Howe suggestion, they went with regional names.
In the Metropolitan Division.
No, you read that correctly, instead of staying in the Atlantic Division, that division moves into the Metropolitan Division with the additions of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes. The fan reaction to the new name has been… unhappy to say the least. Possibly because the name is way too long and will eventually be shortened to the Metro division. Who really wants to win the Metro Division? Definitely not the Flyers.
It’s kind of a stupid division name, but rather than name Division C “Something Else” or “Mideast,” geographically the league could only get away with calling it the Atlantic Division. Because if you honestly think that regionally the Florida teams belongs with Northeastern and Canadian teams, I suggest you look at a map again.