While these folks understood that this needed to be done, they were not quite sure how it would end up working out and what kind of match-ups it would produce in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
It is safe to say that with three Game 7's on tap for tonight, the NHL's realignment has been a success. For starters, it has helped to produce intriguing match-ups.
In looking at the first round, several of the series were between rivals whether it was divisional, past history, Original Six, etc. We had/have the likes of the San Jose Sharks vs. Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers vs. Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins vs. Detroit Red Wings, and Chicago Blackhawks vs. St. Louis Blues.
All of the above mentioned series, with the exception of the Bruins vs. Red Wings, were/are all great first-round match-ups. With the exception of the Bruins vs. Red Wings series, each series went at least six games and tonight, two of those series will be going at it in a Game 7 to advance to the second round.
Even the second round is going to have intriguing match-ups. The perfect example of this is the one that is going to be between the Bruins and Montreal Canadiens, who will be facing off against each other in the postseason for a league-record 34th time.
Secondly, with the way realignment worked, we have seen a lot more parity, which has resulted in a lot more comebacks. For example, the Kings battled back from 3-0 series deficit to force tonight's Game 7.
Parity has also been the case in the Colorado Avalanche vs. Minnesota Wild series. Much like the Rangers/Flyers series, no team has been able to gain an edge in the series and because of that, the two clubs are facing off tonight in a Game 7 tilt.
In all, only two of the league's eight first round match-ups have been done in five or less games. It just goes to show you that when it comes to the NHL's postseason, seeding really does not matter all that much.
Lastly, the new realignment has produced one of the most exciting first rounds in recent memory. There has been a lot of overtime games, big hits, questionable calls that have had major impacts on games, and of course, many highlight goals and saves.
It's already been a postseason to remember for the league and their fans and it's only just beginning.