DON’T GET ME STARTED continues pummeling the basketball guy – Gary Bettman – as he does things that baffle the imagination.

You know the skinny.  The NHL was a great league with some tremendous rivalries until around February 1993 when Gary Bettman was named the Commissioner.  So what does this guy do – except getting booed whichever arena he enters – he tinkers with the game that was so solid before he got here.

First order of business was expansion.  He put teams in some markets that don’t draw well and now there are 30 teams in the league.  How often do you hear that “this team or that team is losing millions?”

His latest brain buster is re-aligning the league into two divisions and two conferences beginning next season but hold on there.  Let me see if my arithmetic is right.  30 divided by 2 equals 15, right?  Not in the way Bettman sees it.  30 divided by 2 in the new NHL equals 16 teams in one conference and 14 in the other.  Detroit and Columbus move from the western conference to the Eastern while Winnipeg goes into the Western Conference.

The Sabres will be in an 8-team division.  It will consist of Buffalo; Detroit; Boston; Montreal; Toronto; Ottawa, Florida and Tampa bay.

The other division will have Columbus, Carolina, Washington, Pittsburgh, New Jersey, Philadelphia, New York Rangers and New York Islanders.

Why in the world didn’t they put Pittsburgh in the Sabres division is beyond me.  After all, they make sure they don’t upset the travel-by-bus teams that are two New York City franchises; Philadelphia and New Jersey.  You might also throw in Washington.  After all, when the announcement of the re-alignment was made, it stated that the move was made so the league could move into a more “geographically appropriate”.

Not only did the tinkering cause the above but they said they will re-evaluate the divisions after the 2015 season. Certainly, there’s going to be a lot of complaints and in all likelihood, they will re-align again.

Did Bettman and his toy ever take a poll of the fans to see how they felt?  Forget it.  That would probably be the last thing they would consider.

And of course there will be the playoffs.  What they say is that the top 3 teams in each of the divisions make up the 12 teams that will automatically be in the post-season.  That leaves 4 more spots to be filled plus two wild card team.

In this scenario, it is very possible that 5 teams in one division could enter the playoffs.  Certainly it would seem the better teams in Buffalo’s division would be Detroit; Boston; Ottawa; Montreal; Toronto.  That leaves Buffalo and the two Florida teams to whistle in the wind.  The other division would send 3 teams, most likely Pittsburgh, Rangers and New Jersey.

Mind you this scenario represents only my thoughts.

Check me out after next season because I see a return to those days when sub- .500 teams made the playoffs.  I can see that teams with losing records will likely make the playoffs next year.

It’s interesting that Bettman (after last season) was praising the league for its increase in revenue and attendance.  So rather than build on it, what does this guy do?  He re-structures the league.

How long can hockey tolerate the continuing changes to this great sport on Don’t Get Me Started.

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