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Detroit’s had just about enough of the Western Conference

Dec 4, 2011, 6:32 PM EDT

Red Wings Getty Images

If there’s one team that’s likely to get what it wants out of this week’s NHL Board of Governors meetings in Pebble Beach, it’s Detroit. The Red Wings have been patient and discreet in their push to be moved to the Eastern Conference, two traits that commissioner Gary Bettman has rewarded in the past. Perhaps if Jim Balsillie had chosen a similar strategy in his pursuit of a franchise…but that’s another story.

Detroit is hoping to get two things with a move to the east. First is more of its fans being able to watch road games on TV without staying up past midnight and hating themselves in the morning. Second is a reduction in travel.

“It’s very, very simple from the Red Wings’ standpoint,” senior VP Jimmy Devellano said, as per the Windsor Star. “What we would like to avoid is going far west twice (during the regular season). We understand we need to go there once. To go twice is terrible for TV ratings, extra travel expenses that many teams don’t share in. That’s really our only concern.”

Travel has also been a factor for the Wings during the postseason.

“That’s when you feel it the most — in the playoffs,” Henrik Zetterberg told the Detroit News. “If we cut some of the travel, that would be good.”

In the major realignment proposal that’s being presented to the BOG Monday, Detroit is placed in a conference (there are four conferences, not divisions) with Columbus (which wants the same two things as the Wings), Chicago, St. Louis, Minnesota, Winnipeg, Dallas and Nashville. The top four teams in each conference would make the playoffs, with the first two rounds being played within the conference. So the farthest the Wings would have to travel in the first two rounds is to Dallas, whereas they’ve had to go to Phoenix and San Jose in each of the last two years.

  1. Matt - Dec 4, 2011 at 6:55 PM

    Curiously, I’ve had just about enough of hearing Detroit complain about their supposed troubles from travelling. Honestly, it’s just pathetic – Detroit has had enviable levels of success while being in such a “terrible” position. I trust their complaints fall on the ears of fans and leaders of other teams that don’t want to hear such fake sorrow.

    And for that matter, why would or should the rest of the NHL cave into Detroit? The realignment talks should aim to preserve or improve the integrity of the whole 30-team league. To let just one team dictate the terms of any changes is moronic. Supposed “paid dues” and whatnot be damned – none of that matters if multiple members of the league continue to be hurt by the current divisional format.

  2. tommytd - Dec 4, 2011 at 7:44 PM

    Anybody bother to check with NBC, the sugardaddy bankrolling the NHL??? They might have a thing or two to say re: realignment.

  3. donttouchthedirtypenny - Dec 4, 2011 at 8:18 PM

    Maybe they should table this whole realignment thing until we find out where the Coyotes end up. Is it a big deal if the Jets are in the SE for one more season?

    • 12is3times4 - Dec 4, 2011 at 10:49 PM

      IIRC the proposed realignment would put the Coyotes in an 8-team conference, while keeping the Northeast conference (or whatever they’d call it, which would encompass Quebec City, an often-speculated destination for the Coyotes) at 7 teams. So, if the Coyotes do become Nordiques 2.0, they could be transplanted to the Northeast, which would become an 8-team conference while the Far West conference shrinks to 7 teams, but the overall 8-8-7-7 balance would remain intact without having to move any other teams around.

      • tcclark - Dec 4, 2011 at 11:29 PM

        I’m gonna laugh one day if the Colorado Avalanche have financial troubles and become the Atlanta Thrashers.

  4. kibbee2545 - Dec 5, 2011 at 10:02 PM

    Detroit is not whining they have four different suggestions for re alignment not just one. If you read the Detroit papers you will see they are suggesting different format so everyone will benefit from the travel. Also if you had not noticed Detroit is a well run hockey team, maybe other teams should look at how they are managed. Steve. Yezerman went to Tampa and they are starting to look like a well managed program and Even Chicago took some of Detroit old management and they are beginning to develop a good program

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