September 24 2011 09:08PM
Since the Atlanta Thrashers were sold so late in the process of the NHL summer calendar, the Winnipeg Jets were forced to play in Atlanta's old spot in the Southeast Division.
Right away, there were many who said the Jets were going up against a time zone disadvantage since they would have to travel more than any other team to play their divisional opponents in Washington, Florida, Tampa, and Carolina.
None of their opponents were within 1,000 kilometers of Winnipeg.
However, the Jets will gain a time zone advantage over their divisional opponents as the season will go on.
During their Southeast Division play, the Jets will be able to travel from city to city in the Southeast. Once down in the Southeast, travelling from city to city to play against their divisional opponents, the Jets won't have as much travel time as their opponents will in the end.
For Washington, Carolina, Tampa, and Florida, when they are on a Southeast Division road trip, they will have to travel all the way to Winnipeg, possibly in between trips to other cities in the Southeast.
If Tampa plays in Washington, then plays in Winnipeg, and then has to play in Florida, there is more travel for that team overall because of the long distance Winnipeg is away from the Southeast.
Thus, the Jets will gain a time zone advantage.
And for the Jets, that advantage may be the difference between a playoff spot and not making the playoffs in the end.