A conversation with Stanley Cup of Chowder over on his blog
(http://www.stanleycupofchowder.com/2009/10/1/1065344/bruins-fall-to-washington-4-1-in#comments) has got me thinking - the Caps really do play against Atlantic and Northeast foes better than they do against the Southeast. I also got to thinking about the time old conversation of divisional realignments, which I think makes a lot of sense.
We've been in the Southeast since the league adopted the 6 division format, and honestly, I'm tired of it. Our closest thing to a rival in our division is just a team that hates us and throws beer on our fans when we go visit. I can't think of a team in the Northeast and Atlantic who I dislike less than Carolina.
The league insists on geographical divisions, which I'm fine with. They make the most sense to keep travel costs down, but it's completely unfair to the Capitals. Raleigh is 278 miles from DC by car. By contrast, Pittsburgh (246), Philly (138), and New York (227) are all closer. I can't think of a team that is closer to five non-divisional rivals than it is to ONE divisional foe (Except, perhaps Nashville, but I doubt it).
If you look further, the Capitals are 1,035 miles from Sunrise, FL (Panthers). By contrast, the Capitals are closer to MONTREAL (592), and they're about as far away as you need to get.
The facts are, the geographical divisions may hurt the Capitals. It could even be possible that the team is more tired from longer flights to divisional foes. Regardless, I think the divisions are a joke. Five teams compete for a promised 1-3 spot. I'd rather 7 or 8 teams compete for a 1-2 spot. That in mind, I propose a divisional realignment, and if you want to base on geography, that's fine, but leaving the Capitals out of divisional match-ups with Philadelphia and Pittsburgh is marketing the NHL just is letting slip away. And maybe if we were in a new division, we'd find a way to play better more consistantly.
Hell, we're even closer to more teams in the Central division than we are the Southeast. Swap us with Nashville, and the divisional travel schedule wouldn't even change that much.
Regardless, it's just a shame that we can't play as well against Southeast opponents, or I wouldn't even bring this up.