Houston Aeros 1994-2013: Thank you for all the great memories and two decades of great hockey and entertainment.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Aeros stay in West Division

The league announced today a chance in divisions and playoff format.

The Aeros, as expected, will stay in the West division. The league, however, will move from four to six divisions and the top eight teams will make the playoffs. The division winners will be seeded 1-3.

The TX and OK teams will be grouped with Abbotsford, and Charlotte will move to the Western Conference and will play in the newly-created Midwest Division. I call that the O'Hare division, since all the teams fly to Chicago to play the Wolves, Admirals, IceHogs and Rivermen.

Later this week, I think we'll see the grid of who plays whom and how many times. Expect to see the teams the same number of times, with the exception of Charlotte. The Aeros will play them at least four times, if not six. And I would imagine the Aeros will play more than just four games against Abbottsford this season.

This is a win-win. No more crappy crossovers and the best eight teams make the playoffs. That is the best way to do it, and the AHL even says that teams are re-seeded after the first round. That patterns the NHL style (win) and not the NBA style (fail).

Discuss ... this is a good day to be an AHL/Aeros fan.

Here is the official release from the AHL:

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … American Hockey League President and CEO David Andrews announced that the league’s Board of Governors, convening this week for its Annual Meeting in Hilton Head Island, S.C., has approved the following division alignment for the 2011-12 AHL season (NHL affiliates in parentheses):

Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division
Manchester Monarchs (LA)

Portland Pirates (PHX)
Providence Bruins (BOS)
St. John’s (WPG)
Worcester Sharks (SJ)

Northeast Division
Adirondack Phantoms (PHI)

Albany Devils (NJ)
Bridgeport Sound Tigers (NYI)
Connecticut Whale (NYR)
Springfield Falcons (CBJ)

East Division
Binghamton Senators (OTT)

Hershey Bears (WSH)
Norfolk Admirals (TB)
Syracuse Crunch (ANA)
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (PIT)

Western Conference
North Division
Grand Rapids Griffins (DET)

Hamilton Bulldogs (MTL)
Lake Erie Monsters (COL)
Rochester Americans (BUF)
Toronto Marlies (TOR)

Midwest Division
Charlotte Checkers (CAR)

Chicago Wolves (VAN)
Milwaukee Admirals (NSH)
Peoria Rivermen (STL)
Rockford IceHogs (CHI)

West Division
Abbotsford Heat (CGY)

Houston Aeros (MIN)
Oklahoma City Barons (EDM)
San Antonio Rampage (FLA)
Texas Stars (DAL)

The format for the 2012 Calder Cup Playoffs was also approved by the Board of Governors. Eight teams in each conference will qualify for the postseason, with the three division winners earning the top three seeds and the next five best teams in order of regular-season points seeded fourth through eighth.

The conference quarterfinals will be best-of-five series; the conference semifinals, conference finals and Calder Cup Finals will be best-of-seven series. Teams will be re-ordered after the first round so that the highest-remaining seed plays the lowest-remaining seed.

The regular-season schedule format is still to be determined, and the complete playing schedule for the 2011-12 regular season, which begins Oct. 7, will be announced later this summer.

In operation since 1936, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 87 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and for the 10th year in a row, more than 6 million fans attended AHL games across North America in 2010-11.


Forecheck said...

I was afraid we would get stuck with Abbotsford in a move to six divisions. The Heat are the ugly (geographical) stepchild nobody wants.

But hopefully no road trips to St. John's.

Overall, this hopefully makes for less air travel by the Aeros.

Andrew J. Ferraro said...

I think it will be mean a tad MORE air travel for the Aeros. My guess is eight games with the Heat instead of four, which means one more plane ride to Seattle/Vancouver.

But we'll have to see.

I don't think the Aeros will face a completely balanced inter-division schedule (meaning, I think we'll see the Wolves, Admirals, Rivermen, etc, just as many times as we'll see the Heat.) And I still think we'll continue to play Lake Erie, Toronto and those guys just twice each just as before.

Forecheck said...

After some more thought, the Aeros could be in an extremely tight division.

Three of the five teams made the playoffs last season - Abbotsford missed because of the dreaded cross-over. SA was four points out. Not a really bad team in the bunch. Average point total - 91, spread 86 to 98.

None of the parent clubs made the playoffs last season. Look for a lot of up and down traffic, especially the OKC/Edmonton route (as the Oil Change continues), and a lot of hungry kids looking for a shot. The Aeros will not be immune either.

Could be an interesting year.

Forecheck said...
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