Changes coming to NHL teams

The Miami Heat’s winning streak is more impressive than the Chicago Blackhawks unbeaten streak? Are you serious Stephen A. Smith?

Smith made the comments last Saturday and said that the Blackhawks really only had an eight game winning streak since they had lost in a shootout against the Anaheim Ducks early in February, clearly not understanding the context of “unbeaten streak”.

Smith mentioned along with his comments that he did not even know Columbus had a NHL team, well in that case, Stephen A. Smith, shut up.

Where do you even begin comparing the two streaks?

The Heat has LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, a streak like theirs should be expected and is solely because of those players. The Blackhawks have four different lines that have contributed to the streak.

And let’s remember no one had beaten the Hawks in real-time action during the streak, it always happens in the shootout, which is cool and all, but some games you wish there was just continuous overtime to really let the teams claim victory.

There have been high points for the Hawks all season, but not many beat last Sunday’s game against the hated Red Wings. The Red Wings are an original six team like the Hawks, in the same division, have been dominant for over the past decade and have the moniker of being “Hockeytown, USA”.

There is reason behind the hate of the Red Wings many Hawks fans have, but it is not the prominent rivalry for the Hawks currently, even ask the players, they will say it is the Canucks.

As fun as the secondary rivalry is with the Wings, some people cannot come to grips with the recent news that Detroit and Chicago may soon be in different conferences, possibly starting next season.

Talk of a shake-up of the current teams in each of the conferences of the National Hockey League is nothing new.

The current format is a six-division, two conference system for the 30 NHL teams. The new system would switch to four divisions, two in the Western Conference and two in the Eastern Conference.

More importantly, the question that stems from this is how the changes affect the best team in the NHL, the Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks would be part of the Midwest division in the Western Conference.

The Detroit Red Wings would be part of the Central division in the Eastern Conference.

Insert wide-spread panic and anger from many who see this as a sign that the one of the fiercest rivalries for the Hawks will be coming to an end.

It is coming to an end, but it is not necessarily a bad thing. The teams will play two times each season at each other’s stadium, keeping the series fresh and not so watered-down.

The Red Wings are on the decline anyway, and it will take them a few years to load up on talent again, but think about the opportunity of the Blackhawks and the Red Wings meeting in the Stanley Cup, just like they did in 1961 when the Hawks won, I do not, however, remember that game.

You want a rivalry? It does not get any better than two Original Six teams going at it for the best trophy in sports.

Speaking of the Original Six, that topic might be the only thing that ticks me off about the new proposal.

With the Red Wings moving to the Eastern Conference, it puts five of the Original Six not only in the same conference, but in the same division.

Let’s just scrap this proposal and make one with a division with just the Original Six teams, which would make for some of the best hockey fans have ever seen. Maybe put the games on the weekend too, then the NHL would have fans making travel plans.

Alas, those in favor cannot have their way when it comes to the Original Six, so back to the current proposal at hand.

The Blackhawks would play 21 games against the other division in their conference, the Pacific division and with the west coast time difference fans can expect many more nine o’clock starts for the Indian Head.

The Hawks would play another 29 games against their own division meaning that new rivalries could start to form with the Winnipeg Jets and Colorado Avalanche, while re-kindling a rivalry with the Wild in Minnesota could be on the horizon.

Until then, just remember that the Hawks rivalry with the Canucks started in 2009 and has continued until now because of intense playoff battles that involve current players on the team rather than the historic rivalry with the Red Wings that dates back since the inception.

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