How do you like the idea that the Vancouver Canucks, located closer to Alaska than to Illinois, could win a Central Division title?
The wild card format – a necessity due to the imbalanced conferences in the new realignment – provides the chance for a team in one division to “join” the other division for the first two rounds of the playoffs. [...]
So let’s say the Chicago Blackhawks have the most points in the Western Conference, and the Canucks are the lowest wild card. They’d meet in the first round of the Central Division (for argument’s sake) playoffs. Let’s say Vancouver wins [...] and faces the St. Louis Blues in Round 2. They win that series, and advance to face the winner of the division from which they’re actually a member. Meanwhile, they can hang a Central Division championship banner next to the ones that actually make geographic sense.
And they will enter the following season as the reigning Central Division champions while playing in the Pacific.
That really is about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. The league cannot possibly intend for it to be possible for a team not from division x to be declared champion of division x. And if the league really hadn’t thought about this before reading Puck Daddy’s article, I hope they at least have the good sense to pretend that they did, and it’s all a misunderstanding.
Because the obvious and really the only sane solution is that the winner of the division after the regular season (i.e. the first seed) is declared the “champion” of that division. Sort of like a “President’s Trophy” for divisions. After all, we don’t retroactively declare the Stanley Cup champion to be the champion of the opposite conference as well, do we?
You can’t have, for example, a “Smythe Division champ” determined by a playoff that includes teams not in the “Smythe” division.