Here's an interesting read from a Flyers blog. It suggests that Capitals fans are dying to rejoin the Atlantic/Patrick Division, home of the Penguins, Flyers and Rangers and leave the Southeast behind. I'm not too keen on the idea.
While the Southeast Division hasn't provided many intense rivalries, it does have some of the best talent in the NHL. Despite mediocre play and poor records, the Southeast is home to Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, Eric Staal, Ilya Kovalchuk, and teams that, if rebuilt correctly, will house some of the best young talent in the NHL.
The Capitals are the benefactors of being a powerful team in a powerless division, but even that is beginning to change. Florida and Carolina are vying for playoff positions, slots that might very well match them with the Capitals in the first round.
Another stat worth noting is that two of the last five Stanley Cup winners were from the Southeast (Tampa 03-04, Carolina 05-06). Two years before the Tampa Bay Cup win, Carolina lost in the Stanley Cup finals to Detroit.
Another thing to think about: If the Capitals were in any other division in the NHL, do you think they would have been able to go on their incredible late-season run last year? Imagine if the Capitals' last few games were not Tampa, Carolina and Florida but against Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and the New York Rangers. Think the Caps would have had that late-season run against those teams?
The Southeast Division may not be the most exciting division in hockey today, but it is loaded with superstar talent that has produced championship-caliber teams.
Let's win a Cup before we start "crying" for tougher competition in our division. As I see it, in a few years, the Southeast can be just as competitive as the Atlantic Division.