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Could Detroit end up in the Southeast Division? It’s being discussed

Oct 11, 2011, 9:21 PM EDT

Johan Franzen, Jakub Kindl AP

Could the Detroit Red Wings end up in the Southeast Division next year? According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, that’s one realignment move that’s getting the most traction amongst the NHL governors.

According to McKenzie, the idea getting the most run would see the Red Wings move to the Southeast Division and trading places with the Winnipeg Jets in a straight swap, sending the Jets back to the Western Conference. Getting to the Eastern Conference has been high on the Wings’ wish list and with realignment coming next season, there will be changes ahead. It would also mean that fellow Eastern time zone mates in Columbus would be stuck still holding the bag in the Western Conference.

Of course, this move is nearly as logical as having Winnipeg in the Southeast now. The closest team to Detroit, geographically speaking, would be Washington, followed by Carolina. Having the two Florida teams as division mates makes virtually no sense at all. Getting the Red Wings in the mix with Alex Ovechkin and Steve Stamkos (not to mention former Wings captain and current Lightning GM Steve Yzerman) helps create a lot of marquee matchups and added drama.

Winnipeg moving to the Central Division would end the Dallas Stars’ hopes of landing in the Central and getting themselves out of the Pacific Division. It also means that the NHL Board of Governors would be both caving in to Detroit’s wishes (granting a Bettman promise?) while simultaneously wussing out on giving the NHL the radical realignment and four division setup that’s been rumored already.

If you want to throw your tinfoil hat on for a second, the NHL could be holding off on their radical realignment while they figure out just what and potentially where the Phoenix Coyotes end up. Their future in the desert hangs by a thread and if they are forced to relocate, it could change things dramatically. That’s enough of the tinfoil though.

If the NHL wants to get things right, they’ll do it by making things as normal as possible. Planting palm trees in Detroit doesn’t make them a southeastern team. It’s either that or they’re taking the lyrics to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” a bit too literal about that whole “South Detroit” thing.

  1. cannonblast14 - Oct 11, 2011 at 9:32 PM

    Detroit makes no sense in the East. screw the damn “promise”. Columbus needs to move to the east. On the ice and off it would be a life saver for them. It also gives Dallas the chance to move where they want to be.

    • icelovinbrotha215 - Oct 11, 2011 at 10:15 PM

      Yea the problem is that DET makes for better TV. CBJ does make more sense geographically but money is the ultimate factor.

    • philliesblow - Oct 12, 2011 at 9:25 AM

      C-bus has been in the league for about 20 minutes compared to Detroit. C-bus can move to the east in 2032 after they pay their dues.

    • stakex - Oct 12, 2011 at 12:58 PM

      That all depends on what “makes sense” means really. If your talking about logical sense based on location…. your probably right.

      However, it does make perfect financial sense. Lets face it, the NHL would love nothing more then to have Detroit play more games against Pit, Washington, the Flyers, and the Rangers. Those are huge markets, and having Detroit play those teams a few times a year is a big win for TV ratings…. which means a big financial win.

      The one thing I will say though, is that such a move is really going to decimate the Western Conference. Its already fairly weak when compared to the East (not to mention it lacks the big markets of the East)…. and trading the Jets for the Wings is only going to tip that balance even more.

      • ready4jets - Oct 12, 2011 at 4:22 PM

        I’m not sure how you can conclude that the west is “already fairly weak”. I think the two conferences are pretty equal right now. The presidents trophy winner came from the west and Montreal, New York, and Buffalo all would have missed the playoffs if they were in the west.

  2. bcjim - Oct 11, 2011 at 10:26 PM

    Nashville makes the most sense by far. Even with the time issue.

  3. donttouchthedirtypenny - Oct 12, 2011 at 6:00 AM

    Back on the 70s they had Montreal and Los Angeles on the same division so anything’s possible.

  4. Exiled1 - Oct 12, 2011 at 8:47 AM

    As a Hawks fan I’d hate to see the Wings leave the division.I live in the Detroit local market and it’s one of the only ways I get to see the Hawks.

  5. comeonnowguys - Oct 12, 2011 at 11:21 AM

    Ridiculous. Four larger divisions, more games against geographically close division rivals, and divisional play in the first two rounds.

    Move Columbus east (though Nashville to the southeast would be easier, Columbus would be better), rebuild the Norris. Less 10pm start times for Detroit TV watchers.

  6. sippindasyzurp - Oct 12, 2011 at 12:48 PM

    I have been suggesting for a while now that possibly the NHL could consider the same model used in the MLB and NFL where they have 2 separate conferences and within each conference create divisions based on geography… Does anyone have any thoughts on this?? I don’t really have the time to draw something up, but I am sure they could find a way to make some thing like this work… EX a East, Central and West Division in each conference consisting of 5 teams each???

    • bd0986 - Oct 13, 2011 at 8:59 AM

      How is Dallas geographically correct with NYG, PHI and WAS in the NFC East? Or MIA with NYJ, BUF and NE in AFC East? Heck, JAX is closer than MIA to those teams, as are all of the NFC South to the NFC East teams than DAL.

  7. stakex - Oct 12, 2011 at 1:04 PM

    I don’t really think its “tinfoil hat time” to think the NHL might be holding off on a large scale realignment until its sure the teams are all staying where they are. Not only is there a lot of uncertainty with Phoenix, but don’t forget that the Islanders are also in limbo. While it seems unlikely the Islanders will be going anywhere, its still possible if they can’t get an arena built.

    It would be a real pain for the league if they did a radical realignment, only to have two teams move across the country screwing everything up. I think its more likely they will simply patch the current situation with the Jets, and then play the waiting game until all the teams locations are certain for the time being.

    • comeonnowguys - Oct 12, 2011 at 2:16 PM

      Agreed. To completely realign everyone, and then have Quebec and/or Hamilton or similar playing in the West in three years would look silly.

  8. hockeyfan9170 - Oct 12, 2011 at 1:26 PM

    Eliminate the SE division. Here’s my eastern conference idea.

    Ottawa Senators
    Buffalo Sabres
    New York Islanders
    New Jersey Devils
    Tampa Bay Lightning

    Toronto Maple Leafs
    Detroit Red Wings
    Pittsburgh Penguins
    Washington Capitals
    Florida Panthers

    Montreal Canadiens
    Boston Bruins
    New York Rangers
    Philadelphia Flyers
    Carolina Hurricanes

    • icelovinbrotha215 - Oct 12, 2011 at 1:32 PM

      Break up the Keystone State Rivalry? Fail.

    • bcjim - Oct 12, 2011 at 2:56 PM

      lovely, unless you are a Panther.

    • stakex - Oct 12, 2011 at 9:35 PM

      First of all, as a Rangers fan, you removed their two biggest rivalries (Devils and Islanders) from their division. Good luck selling that to the league….

      Second, one of the goals of a realignment is to bring divisions closer together. Your suggestion on the other hand almost seems like you set out with the goal of spreading divisions out as much as possible. The two New York teams are in different divisions, as are the two Florida teams, as are the two PA teams, and theres a Canadian team in every district. Seriouslly, that makes NO SENSE at all.

      I don’t know what rhym or reason you used to come up with this…. but you should give it another look, perhaps with a point this time.

  9. vondoomtmc - Oct 12, 2011 at 1:41 PM

    Here’s the perfect system for realignment! it includes an “Original 6” division!

  10. comeonnowguys - Oct 12, 2011 at 2:29 PM

    If no teams moved:

    Smythe/Pacific: Anaheim, Colorado, Calgary, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver
    Norris/Central: Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis, Winnipeg

    Adams/Northeast: Boston, Buffalo, Montreal, New Jersey, NY Rangers, NY Islanders, Ottawa, Toronto
    Patrick/Southeast: Carolina, Columbus, Florida, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tampa, Washington

  11. wethog66 - Oct 12, 2011 at 2:31 PM

    If Detroit must come East, maybe 2 East divisions would work best, and look something like this to save current rivalries, and promote more regional rivalries.

    Ottawa Senators
    Toronto Maple Leafs
    Buffalo Sabres
    New York Islanders
    Detroit Red Wings
    Montreal Canadiens
    Boston Bruins
    New York Rangers

    Tampa Bay Lightning
    Pittsburgh Penguins
    Washington Capitals
    Florida Panthers
    Philadelphia Flyers
    Carolina Hurricanes
    New Jersey Devils

  12. vondoomtmc - Oct 12, 2011 at 2:49 PM

    Pacific Division:
    San Jose

    St. Louis


    New Jersey
    Tampa Bay

    the Northern (or Original 6) division, would obviously be the toughest division in the nhl, but imagine the epic battles we’d be able to see, plus with detroit, and chacgo moving east, it’d open up the chance to see some lesser markets get to experience their teams moving on into the post season.

    • comeonnowguys - Oct 12, 2011 at 2:52 PM

      I like the idea of an Original 6 division, but most versions that have been put out there wind up with most of the biggest markets west of the Rockies all in one division.

      • vondoomtmc - Oct 12, 2011 at 2:56 PM

        well with the original 6 division, the biggest markets in the east are all together, you dont need to power house divisions, so i’d spread the wealth in the west. besides, my realignment is the best sound when looking at a map!

  13. vondoomtmc - Oct 12, 2011 at 2:58 PM

    have two power house divisions*

  14. vondoomtmc - Oct 12, 2011 at 3:33 PM

    Here’s a map:

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