Buzz3eed: 11 Reasons Why ‘Central Division’ Is Stupid

by J.R.

d3eDSeuYou may have heard — the NHL said Conference III is now the Central Division, at least according to them.

We shook our heads at this renaming-by-fiat; once again, we were the misfits, our entreaties ignored.

In short, like Jay Cutler, WE DOOOOOOOOON’T CAAAAAARE what the league calls us, we are calling us Conference III.

Rather than allowing us to embrace our new identity, Gary Bettman and William J. Daly III gave us an identity that already existed.

Granted, at least it’s not the Flortheast — now known as the Atlantic, despite having just one city on the Atlantic (two if you generously say Sunrise, Fla. is on the ocean). That division has more cities on the Great Lakes than it does the Atlantic.

Then there’s the Metropolitan, which I actually like as a name, even if it would have made more sense for the other division. If someone wants to start a Metro Division blog, Chris Cieslak has a great logo for you.

But we — the committee of notables — do have 11 reasons why Central is a stupid name.

mtnman1. Mountain men. If the whole purpose of the realignment was to align teams in a more time-zone-friendly way, then Colorado should be with Edmonton, Calgary and Phoenix, right? By the grace of God, the Avs are in the Heptarchy, but that makes the Heptarchy not (wholly) Central.

2. The Central Hockey League sucks. The hockey world already has a Central hockey league. It’s called the Central Hockey League and it has teams spread from Arizona to Brampton, Ont.. There are teams in Allen, Texas, and future Olympics site Tulsa. There’s also a team in Denver, for some reason, which is quite funny. In any case, the CHL is below the East Coast league which itself is below the American league. Those last two leagues are more or less unwatchable filth, which makes me think that the CHL’s champions must be a collection of well-trained livestock with a watermelon sitting on a baseball glove as their goalie. Not only did this team win the Ray Miron President’s Cup, but they are also Canada’s Olympics opener! The CHL markets itself as “The Center of Hockey.” And this is what Bettman wants people to think of?

3. Central to what, exactly? The geographic center of North America is near Balta, N.D., which is 250 or so driving miles from Winnipeg, which isn’t saying much, because it’s 468 miles from St. Paul — and way more miles than that to the rest of the “Central.” Let’s eliminate Winnipeg as a Canadian outlier. The geographic center of the contiguous 48 states is kind of in the middle of a Denver-Dallas-St. Paul-Chicago-St. Louis circle. But Nashville? Oh no. Nashville is in central Tennessee, except no one says “central Tennessee,” except people from somewhere else. And all of this ignores the heavy eastern and northern tilt of the NHL. Making a division of the “centralest” seven teams in the NHL would require pushing Colorado west and dragging Detroit back…

img223222854. Our Motor City legacy. By not renaming the division, the NHL has tied the fate of these seven times with a history only Chicago, St. Louis and Nashville share (and Dallas, to a degree — they were in the Central until Nashville joined the league; forcing the Stars to play in the Pacific may have been the start of The Chambers Pot rivalry). The Central Division title was won 13 times by Detroit — a team we spent significant effort dispensing on the ice and off it. As thanks, the NHL hung on us — again — a name sullied with the memory of Detroit. If we can’t rid ourselves of them, what was the point? Speaking of Detroit.

Ninenations5. Creative bankruptcy. Gary Bettman allegedly won’t use non-geographic names because we’d be confused by it (which doesn’t explain the Metropolitan thing or the non-Atlantic Atlantic thing). That’s still, but he could have done something that was interesting instead of “Central.” You know what sports leagues have Central Divisions? Currently, the NBA (duh), both the National and American Leagues in baseball. Also, the Arena League. The NFL used to have Central Divisions, but they ditched them — and guess what the No. 1 sport is now?

Think about it. 1) Ditch “Central.” 2) ??? 3) Become biggest sports league in America. If you just had to stick with geography, I actually like Dater’s suggestion of “Flyover Division,” though ripping off Joel Garreau’s Nine Nations and calling it the Breadbasket would have been fun, too (Nashville would have to be annexed — Cornbread Basket?).

6. There’s no hockey in Central America. There’s a Mexican League. There’s a Brazilian one. There’s nothing in between.

7. Association with crappy fictional places. Central City is the worst fictional city in all of DC comics. It was so bad the Flash and his entire rogues gallery moved to nearby Keystone City in 1985. Keystone City is basically comics Pennsylvania.

Jean_Casimir-Perier8. The French Third Republic was better than the Central African Republic. La Troisième République gets a bad wrap, mostly because of la décadence which led to their defeat during the early stages of the Second World War and therefore laid the ground for Vichy. But the Third Republic also ruled France for 70 years, which ain’t too shabby. During that time, France was engaged in the Scramble for Africa and among its territorial possessions was Oubangui-Chari, which is now known as “the Central African Republic,” because all the good names were taken.

9. Do what you always do, get what you always got. C’mon, Gary. I know Twitter doesn’t represent the real world, but was anybody out there clamoring for “Central Division” (or “Pacific” or “Atlantic” or “Metropolitan,” for that matter)? Nobody really cares about the division names, which is more or less a license to do anything with them. The NHL could have been punk-rock or they could have been safe. Guess where they leaned?

10. Aren’t the Comedy Central jokes kind of easy here? Did the NHL set this up so the headline bros at the dot-com have a go-to punchline?

11. We aren’t egomaniacs. “Central Division” makes us sound like the selfish division, which we aren’t. We just want to blend into the room and be good teammates. Frankly, given that there’s a “Metropolitan” division, we could’ve been the “Cosmopolitan Division” if it wasn’t for the addled masses in St Louis. Thanks a lot, St. Louis. Even Winnipeg is the Chicago of the North. And they live underground half the year.