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Report: Realignment down to two Detroit-favorable solutions

Dec 2, 2011, 12:19 PM EDT

Gary Bettman Getty Images

One way or another, it looks like NHL realignment is going to work to the Red Wings’ benefit.

John Shannon of Sportsnet reports the league is down to two possible ways to realign the NHL and if you’ve kept up with the theories tossed out there, you’re familiar with what’s at the top of the list. Shannon reports one of the choices involves simply swapping Detroit and Winnipeg, putting the Jets in the Central Division and the Wings in the Southeast.

The other format would see the conferences and six divisions go away, instead having four divisions and a balanced schedule. With those two options on the table, it’ll be up to next week’s Board of Governors meeting to decide if radical realignment or a quick fix is what they’re after.

Of course, Gary Bettman has said a realignment decision might not be finalized next week, and with two-thirds of the owners needed to approve anything, this could drag out a bit longer.

Either way, it’s shaping up that Detroit will have its travel woes eased and Mike Ilitch won’t have to harass Bettman any more about his “promise” to move them East. Either Detroit will come East, or it’ll have the same travel problems every other team has.

  1. govtminion - Dec 2, 2011 at 12:24 PM

    Bettman: “You know, if we go to four divisions, we end up with two seven-team and two eight-team divisions… that’s not right. We should do two more expansion teams! Let’s see, who could use expansion teams… Atlanta? That seems familiar for some reason… I’m sure hockey will work there, so let’s add them to the list, and… hmmm… why haven’t we tried El Paso yet? There’s ice there, right?”

  2. cannonblast14 - Dec 2, 2011 at 12:29 PM

    Glad to see the NHL continuing their irrational ideas of moving a team that is further west and further north than a team like Columbus or even Nashville to the southeast division. Make no sense. Have fun flying an and hour and then over Columbus to half your games next year Detroit! Your owner may want to buy lunch for Bettman more often, or make him drink so he can give you more “promises”

    • yzerfan75 - Dec 3, 2011 at 4:16 PM

      Good point. Let’s get rid of the Blue Jackets while we’re thinking about it. One playoff appearance (and getting swept out at that) really doesn’t reflect well on THEIR ownership, either. :)

      • schnaidt20 - Dec 3, 2011 at 8:13 PM

        Yea no kidding. Who cares about Columbus and their pathetic hockey team. I dont care what the league does. Obviously you wanna see teams play fair sched. I am just sick and tired of watching 10:30 hockey games…. SO THANK GOD!

  3. rainyday56 - Dec 2, 2011 at 12:47 PM

    3 conferences: North: NYR NYI TOR MTL BUF BOS OTT DET CHI PIT South: PHI NJ WAS CAR CBJ NAS DAL FLA TBL PHI West: VAN EDM CAL LAK ANN SJS WIN STL PHX MIN. 85 game schedule, top 4 each conference, 4 wild cards. Playoffs straight seeding across the league from the 1st round. Yer welcome.

    • pastabelly - Dec 2, 2011 at 1:48 PM

      85 games? Sorry, each team should play the same amout of home and road games.

      Detroit playing in the Southeast is a ridiculous thought. Nashville belongs in the Southeast and they can re-allign the West after Winnipeg moves over there. But the league is better off waiting on any other major re-allignment until the fates of the Phoenix and NY Islander franchises are determined and seeing if those franchises wind up in Quebec or Kansas City.

    • hanktheking - Dec 2, 2011 at 2:12 PM

      So PIT/NYR is north but Philly and Jersey are South? Huh?

    • gbiscottagecheesefatties - Dec 2, 2011 at 2:20 PM

      Minny plays in a div where everyone is HUNDREDS of miles away… OKAY BUDDY!

  4. rainyday56 - Dec 2, 2011 at 1:07 PM

    Furthermore: if PHX moves north, CHI goes west. If PHX goes south … (he he hasn’t that happened already?)

  5. murraychadwick - Dec 2, 2011 at 1:10 PM

    The 4 division format with Detroit still in the Western Conference and a balanced schedule still does not solve Detroit’s Eastern Time Zone issue. The balanced regular season helps a little, but the most important thing is during playoffs. That is the big issue with Detroit being in the Eastern Time Zone and having to play teams on Pacific Time. And it’s not just about Detroit and the other team they’re playing in that particular series. It’s when Detroit has to play Phoenix in the first round and then play LA who just beat San Jose in the previous round and are in the same time zone. The travel starts to wear on Detroit when the other two teams didn’t have any time zone change in their first round. Colombus can start complaining when they start making the playoffs. Until then it should be cut and dry that Detroit goes to the east.

    • pastabelly - Dec 2, 2011 at 1:55 PM

      So, you want to solve Detoit’s problem and not Nashville’s or Columbus’. I don’t get that logic. Also, Detroit is only a 45-minute flight to Chicago. So, doesn’t Chicago have the same issue? Also, this problem hasn’t stopped Detroit from winning Stanley Cups. It’s just a crappy argument. Maybe the real argument here is that the Detroit cable television package might be worth more money without so many late starts in the western time zones. At least, be honest about that rather than bringing up all of these bogus arguments that it makes more sense to have Detroit playing so many more games in Raleigh, Tampa Bay, Miami, and Washington.

  6. hague507 - Dec 2, 2011 at 1:25 PM

    Why would they not consider putting Nashville in the Southeast?

    Nashville to the SE
    Minnesota to the Central
    Winnipeg to the NW

  7. pastabelly - Dec 2, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    Yup, moving Detroit to the Southeast makes a lot of sense and they can rekindle their longstanding rivalries with the Panthers and Lightening. It just doesn’t get any more ridiculous than that. Before any major reallignment or stupid ideas like that come to pass, the league might want to consider waiting until either Phoenix and/or the Islander move and see what happens with Kansas City and Quebec.

  8. bostonhasrealhockey - Dec 2, 2011 at 2:08 PM

    The swap is the quickest fix IMO

  9. govtminion - Dec 2, 2011 at 2:31 PM

    What the hell is Bettman trying to do in that picture, anyway? “Seriously, it looks like they stick out to here on her- oh… ah, hi Wayne… no, I haven’t seen your daughter’s Twitter feed, why?”

  10. mmmpierogi - Dec 2, 2011 at 5:32 PM

    If the Red Wings want to be in the Eastern Conference that incredibly much and there has been some kind of promise or whatever made, then just swap them with Winnipeg and let them have to deal with being in another awkward spot by being with nonsensical rivals. Realigning all of the divisions, yet again, to cater to one or two team is weak.

  11. greatminnesotasportsmind - Dec 2, 2011 at 7:44 PM

    These eastern conference owners need to get their heads out of their bums. Look big picture not microscopic that helps just your team. No reason Winnipeg, Minnesota, Dallas, and Detroit should be playing division rivals 2 time zones away!

    division 1
    Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Colorado, and Phoenix*

    division 2
    Winnipeg, Minnesota, Dallas, St. Louis, Chicago, Nashville, and Columbus.

    That way Detroit is happy and no division expands more than 2 time zones.

    If they swap Detroit and Winnipeg, why even bother? Division rivals for Detroit with Florida and Tampa is just as ridiculous as Winnipeg being there. This is crap

  12. kibbee2545 - Dec 3, 2011 at 4:04 PM

    No matter what happens Detroit will always make the playoffs and fight for the cup so what is the big deal

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