Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Y'all ain't from around here, are ya, boy?

It's a good thing for the free world that the National Hockey League wasn't in charge of D-Day, or the Allied Expeditionary Force might have invaded Labrador instead of the north of France.
The geographical genuises at the NHL have decided to keep the former Atlanta Thrashers-turned-Winnipeg Jets in the Southeast Division, because nothing says peach trees and magnolias like a December day in Manitoba. Presumably, the Jets will be grouped with more logical rivals when the NHL realigns for the 2012-2013 season, and in the meantime, they won't be the only franchise at complete geographical odds with their divisional assignment. The Dallas Stars are in the Pacific Division, even though the surf is seldom up in Big D, which is separated from the Pacific Ocean by most of Texas and all of New Mexico, Arizona and California. For years, baseball's National League had the Chicago Cubs in the East Division and the Atlanta Braves in the West, which conveniently ignored the fact that Chicago is west of Atlanta, and that after South Carolina, the only thing east of Atlanta is Africa. In the NFL, Green Bay, Chicago, Minnesota and Detroit used to share the NFC Central with Tampa Bay, which has about as much in common with those four cities as Casablanca has with Chicoutimi.
Aligning franchises to make geographical sense and produce a balanced schedule that doesn't impose an unfair travel burden on one team or another is really not that complicated. All you need is an Atlas and some fundamental skills in mathematics. Even my 10 year old could do it, if he wasn't so busy downloading music onto my iPod and pre-programming the GPS for our summer vacation.

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