A fellow I follow on twitter (@wildroadtripper), and a resident of GTRCMBSHP has been cheering on the Jets, in hopes that they make it to the playoffs. The Wild certainly won't make any playoff waves at this point, so we might as well cheer for the closest team outside our fair city. That leaves Chicago or Winnipeg. As anyone older than 30 can tell you, a Minnesota hockey fan cheering for the Blackhawks is a bit like Mon Mothma sending a birthday card to Palpatine. It's just wrong.
So I can go along with this, at least for now. You see, as soon as the Jets are in a division with the Wild, I'm gonna have a hard time cheering for them. Unlike some people who have an attitude that if your team can't go all the way, you might as well cheer for your neighbor, I'm an asshole. I can't do it. Who I root for is usually based on a combination of things: spite (suck it, Canucks), the underdog (Phoenix, that lovable rogue), players I like or dislike (it's ok for the Red Wings to win it for Chris Chelios; Todd Bertuzzi? Screw that guy), but usually, it's arbitrary and capricious.
But this year, there's the sleeper reason: Travel. What I'd love to see more than anything else is for the Eastern Conference to have a long travel schedule in the playoffs. I'd love to see Peter Karmanos or Jeffrey Vinik complain about how horrible the travel schedule is. To hear Lou Lamoriello or Peter Chiarelli whine about how the travel has taken a toll on his players. (I said I was an asshole, you don't have to remind me.) All so that the Vancouvers and Calgarys and Anaheims of the NHL can say "That's exactly what we've been putting up with for years, bitches."
Or leave the bitches part off, whatever. And this is to say nothing of the player who's never traveled more than a couple hours one way for a playoff game. The NHLPA famously raised objections to the realignment plan this year and the League famously acted like a spoiled four year old and stomped off the field, taking its ball with them.
The realignment plan is not perfect, and I think the League has some work to do to make it work properly. Sure, there is a statistical advantage in some of the conferences in the realignment plan, but MLB has tolerated that for decades. Maybe there's a hybrid way to make realignment work (and despite what the League says, I think they can still manage to schedule the 12-13 season within realignment).
Such weeping and gnashing of teeth, I think, would help move the cause along and the game can be better for everyone involved. And, at least for now, it could be very good for the Jets. I hope you're with me.