Deafening but brilliant, and not something I've really noticed in the same way in the NHL, though I suspect arenas in Canada are a lot noisier than most in the US. Anyway, I'm pretty sure that it comes from football chanting - football being the biggest sport in Europe, obviously - being carried over into hockey, but to hear it in an indoor arena is really something.
Indeed, chanting is not a tradition during a hockey game here in Canada. People in North America tend to enjoy the game, analyzing it, knowing what is happening on the ice, while I guess people in Europe are more the type of chanting during the whole game, not really watching the show on the ice. That's just my impression.
Sometimes though, fans can start chanting too, depending of how the game is played. When your team scores 3 goals in less than two minutes, there are more chances for the spectators to chant.
Yes, they are the same franchise, but because the calendar for the current season was almost completed when the relocation was announced, they didn't have time to make the realignment. So Winnipeg stayed in the Southeast division.
The Northeast teams have been put together with the Floridian teams in the same conference because of the New York and Pennsylvania teams. With the new format, if each team plays only twice against an opponent of the other conference, that means that the Islanders wouldn't had played the Rangers very often if they had been placed in different conferences. The NHL didn't want to break natural rivalries. So the three teams in the New York region (the New Jersey Devils plays just on the other side of the Hudson river) had to be in the same conference. Same thing for the rivalry between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Toronto and Buffalo are pretty close of each other, just like Montreal and Ottawa, and there's of course a natural rivalry between the two teams in Ontario. Plus, there's a very heated rivalry between Boston and Montreal.
That leaves Washington, Carolina, Tampa Bay and Miami (Florida) alone in their corner. Again, you cannot break the rivalry between Tampa and Florida. Washington and Carolina are already in the same division. So the NHL thought that moving the teams from Florida with the Northeast teams would be preferable than moving Columbus and Detroit (the only two teams in the current Western conference to be in the Eastern timezone) to the Northeast.
As for the East-West thing, that will not be a problem anymore. First, for the All-Star game, they already divide the players with a Fantasy Draft instead of the old East-West gimmick. As for the playoffs, only the first 4 teams in each conference will take part in them. For the first round, it will be 1st against 4th and 2nd against 3rd inside the same conference. For the second round, it will be the two winners of the first round inside the same conference. As for the third round, it is not known yet how it will be, but there are two scenarios. 1- the highest ranked of the four remaining teams against the fourth ranked and the second one against the third one; 2- We bring back the East-West thing with the winners of the two eastern conferences playing against each other with the same thing in the West.
Of course, you can say that it will be easier for teams in the east to make the playoffs if there are only 7 teams in their conference. Yes, you are right. But there are 30 teams in the NHL, so you cannot make 4 perfectly divided conferences... for now! Which brings us...
Seattle and Quebec City don't have what Kansas City has: a brand new NHL-ready arena, the Sprint Center (built in 2007). Ok, the Kansas City Scouts folded after only two seasons, but that's because the team sucked, just like any expansion team is, which is not a good way to attract fans. By moving an already established team there, just like Winnipeg did, at least the owners have a better chance to create a fan base. Also, the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders once considered moving there in recent years. Pittsburgh got a new arena which allowed them to stay in Pennsylvania, but for the Islanders, it is another story, as the owner wants a new arena before his lease ends in 2015.
It's the other way around for Seattle and Quebec City since they do have potential local buyers for a team but no real arena, although there's a plan for a new one in Quebec City.
Another city that could get a team is Las Vegas, which has also an arena ready for hockey. Hamilton is another possibility, although several attempts made in recent years have failed. Houston is the largest city in the US without a NHL franchise, but is there any interest for hockey there?
So, if a team moves, the best guess is that the Coyotes will be moving to Kansas City. The Western-most new conference will dropped to seven teams while the central one with go up to nine. To correct that, you move either Columbus or Detroit to one of the Eastern conference, and you'll keep the 7-7-8-8 format. If you make an expansion, it will very likely be in the Western conferences, which stills allow you to move Detroit and/or Columbus to the East.
The NHL isn't stupid: they are planning something. They own the Coyotes and they know they cannot keep them in their current situation forever. The city of Glendale (where the team is actually located) paid $25 million to cover the losses the team suffered last year and some citizens, along with the conservative organization Goldwater Institute, are publicly outraged. And 2012 is an electoral year, so the current mayor might be kicked out and effectively end the financial aid the city provides to the team, which leaves the door open for a relocation for the 2013-2014 season.
However, all this talk about relocation, realignment and expansion could be for nothing if a new CBA is not signed in time for the 2012-2013 season, which is next season! I don't want another lock-out or strike!