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Report: Players don’t want major realignment

Dec 4, 2011, 3:56 PM EDT

Realignment promises to be the major topic of the NHL’s Board of Governors meetings tomorrow in Pebble Beach.

According to the CBC (video), below is the radical proposal that’s being presented to the BOG:


A two-thirds majority (20 of 30 teams) is needed to approve any plan, with speculation it will be the eastern teams that don’t want their travel to increase that would kill the above proposal, if it doesn’t end up passing.

Another group that’s apparently against the plan is the NHLPA. The New York Post reports that the players’ union thinks it “would be unfair to teams in the eight-team divisions” and that there are “concerns about changes in the schedule that would create increased travel.”

Of course, the NHLPA doesn’t have a vote; however, with a new CBA needing to be negotiated, the league might not want to generate any unnecessary acrimony.

So what’s the likelihood it will pass?

Via USA Today:

If it’s assumed — and it’s not confirmed — that every Western team supports the four-conference plan, then five Eastern votes would be needed to pass. Of course, one of the Eastern teams is the Winnipeg Jets, formerly known as the Atlanta Thrashers. It’s their need to be regrouped with Western teams that is the genesis for realignment. Presumably, they support the four-conference concept. That means only four more Eastern votes would be needed for passage, and supporters of the four-conference seem to believe that the Philadelphia Flyers are now in their corner. Now it’s down to three.

Chances are, Gary Bettman knows exactly whose votes he’s got. The commissioner won’t want to risk coming out of the meeting and saying, “Yeah, they didn’t go for it.” And if that’s the case, realignment is on the way.

  1. gbiscottagecheesefatties - Dec 4, 2011 at 4:00 PM

    Please… We know what players would want this and which who don’t…. Maybe they should take a fan poll and see what we want… I thought we pay the bills LOL

  2. dolanster - Dec 4, 2011 at 4:36 PM

    Swap the Rangers and the Islanders for Tampa and Florida and this makes sense. Then you have a true Eastern Div a South-Central Div, a Western Div and a Midwest Div.

    • itsallniceonice - Dec 4, 2011 at 4:42 PM

      Yeah having the Northeast and the two Florida teams makes almost no sense. Swap a couple PA or NY team for them.

      • stakex - Dec 4, 2011 at 6:21 PM

        That makes even less sense then dolanster’s idea.

  3. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Dec 4, 2011 at 4:54 PM

    The Leafs would be in the same division as Boston, Pittsburgh, and Tampa? F*ck that

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Dec 4, 2011 at 4:55 PM

      Boston, Buffalo*, and Tampa

  4. dolanster - Dec 4, 2011 at 5:01 PM

    The Leafs have more problems than who’s in the division with them. Does it really matter if they just take the top 8 from two conferences?

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Dec 4, 2011 at 5:15 PM

      Like what? Their biggest problem seems to be playing Boston but that’s nothing new

      • dolanster - Dec 4, 2011 at 5:23 PM

        Like goaltending, defense, coaching, etc. Leafs should just concentrate on making the playoffs — my recollection is they haven’t gone to the post-season since the lockout. Worrying about any realignment should come after worrying about finishing more than a game or two over .500

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Dec 4, 2011 at 5:36 PM

        You been watching much hockey this year bud? We’re three points back of Boston for the division lead, just got our #1 goalie back, and have been playing better defense so far this year. I’ve also got no problem with Ron Wilson and his approach to improving a young team. I’d say playoffs is looking like a pretty realistic possibility this year and none of your baseles Leafs bashing will change that

    • dolanster - Dec 4, 2011 at 6:41 PM

      Leafs start hot every year, start to fizzle by the holidays, are lucky to be on the bubble by Spring, and our out of it by the final week. You’re right on schedule for a repeat. Even if you manage to squeak in you’ll get smoked by one of the teams in the conference that are head and shoulders better (like the Bruins). I’d actually love to see Toronto be a contender, but realignment isn’t the problem.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Dec 4, 2011 at 6:47 PM

        Right on schedule? Usually our hot start fizzles by mid-October and we’re in the bottom third of the conference by now. We held things together for a month running AHL-quality goalies out there every game. Now we’ve got our #1 guy back completely healthy and we’re just 3 points out of the division lead. Like it or not this year’s Leafs are a a different, much improved, playoff-calibre bunch

      • somekat - Dec 5, 2011 at 9:14 AM

        You know it’s been a long decade as a hockey fan when 1 fan says “you’re right on schedule to repeat” (collapse), and the retort is “no, we should of collapsed last month”

  5. psujay - Dec 4, 2011 at 6:18 PM

    Just contract Phoenix and the next team to go bankrupt. Then we can have four divisions of 7. .

  6. stakex - Dec 4, 2011 at 6:28 PM

    There is no need for this radical four conference plan. Just swap the Jets for the Wings…. problem solved.

    • gbiscottagecheesefatties - Dec 4, 2011 at 6:50 PM

      far from solved… weather you notice them or not but Minnesota has a hard road schedule too.

  7. greatminnesotasportsmind - Dec 4, 2011 at 9:28 PM

    There are 4 teams that need realignment the most. The most obvious is Winnipeg. The other 3 are Dallas, Minnesota and to a degree Detroit.

    Dallas and Minnesota play for more late games than Detroit does. It is crap that Minnesota and Dallas have to travel 2 time zones to play division games. Detroit only has to travel a short distance to another time zone to play St. Louis and Chicago. Nothing like Minnesota playing divison games in Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.

    • comeonnowguys - Dec 5, 2011 at 1:22 PM

      Colorado may have something to say about this.

  8. tcclark - Dec 4, 2011 at 9:53 PM

    Can we just move Winnipeg to the pacific, dallas to the central, and Columbus/Nashville to the southeast (I really want to say Nashville, but i feel like people will 8itch at me about the time zones) and be done with this? I don’t understand how moving more teams into divisions with multiple time zones solves the travel and tv issues in the NHL. Doesn’t it cause more travel issues when a team in Miami has to play teams in Toronto, Buffalo and Montreal every other day? All of this crap is for a Detroit team that does better than most (financially and in number of fans) despite the fact that they play west coast teams.

    Can we just stop complaining about a system that works for pretty much every other sports league?

    • 12is3times4 - Dec 4, 2011 at 10:31 PM

      Travel issues are an afterthought in realignment – it’s pretty much all about televised road games.

      West Coast games that start at 7pm Pacific time start at 10pm Eastern time, not exactly conducive to great TV ratings for West Coast road games in Eastern Time Zone TV markets – which account for over half the teams in the league (including, I need not remind anyone, most of the largest TV markets), unlike “pretty much every other sports league,” whose teams are distributed much more evenly across the time zones. So the time zone issue is a much bigger deal in the NHL than it is in other leagues.

      • tcclark - Dec 4, 2011 at 11:05 PM

        I understand the problem with the time zones which is why i have dallas moving to the central and columbus moving to the southeast. Detroit doesn’t need to move. They have a fan base that spreads a lot farther than the city of detroit and they are consistently one of the top franchises in the league revenue wise. we don’t need a major shake up where we are creating 4 conferences and teams primarily play the teams in their conference.

        If you look at baseball, not only do you have a team like the Texas Rangers in the central time zone playing teams from Anaheim, oakland, and Seattle, but they are also planning on MOVING the houston astros from their central time zone to a division where most of the teams play 2 time zones away. Also each league in baseball has an eastern division and a western division and those teams play each other regularly throughout the season. If it isn’t a problem for a product like baseball where they have to do it for twice as many games, why is it a problem in the NHL?

        Then you have the NBA (the closest schedule to the NHL). When the Sonics moved from Seattle to Oklahoma City, was there this much of an out cry for realignment? no. in fact most people don’t even realize that Oklahoma City plays in the Northwest division against teams like Portland and Utah. You also have teams like Memphis and New Orleans who play in the Western Conference where they have to travel and play on the West Coast a lot and yet you don’t have New Orleans lobbying to get into the South Eastern division.

        It sucks for Detroit to have to play teams from the West Coast so much, but they can afford to do it. You don’t change the whole structure of a league that is just now getting back to where it wants to be post-lockout so that one team can have a better tv schedule. It works for other leagues and it works for the NHL. Just move Winnipeg, Dallas, and Columbus(they can’t afford it like Detroit can) and get over it.

  9. nhlbruins90 - Dec 4, 2011 at 10:29 PM

    Having the Florida teams in the NE grouping seems odd. On the other hand, the FLA teams seems to have more than a few Canadian fans … snowbirds and such. I can’t believe the NE players would mind traveling to FLA more often in the winter. Maybe squeeze in a few rounds of golf during the ‘difficult’ road trip south. Poor things.

  10. greatminnesotasportsmind - Dec 4, 2011 at 10:53 PM

    It seems like the Western Conference is done perfect. That is 15 votes of the 20 needed.

    Winnipeg is a vote from the Eastern Conference that is 16 votes.

    New Jersey doesn’t really get effected according to Lou. 17 votes.

    With only 3 votes needed, I can’t see how this doesn’t get passed, however I see the 2 Florida teams complaining about their travel schedule since Washington and Carolina could be in their divison, If they get Buffalo and 3 canadian teams to go to their side, the realignement would hinge on the Pennsylvania and New York teams (and Boston). I think both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia might like this because they keep each other in the same divison. New York teams don’t have to travel far, so please don’t derail this

    • comeonnowguys - Dec 5, 2011 at 1:25 PM

      I’d thumb this up twice if I could.

    • thomaspratt - Dec 5, 2011 at 2:40 PM

      I think Florida and Tampa Bay vote for it because they get teams that appeal to snowbirds in their buildings. Having Toronto, Montreal, and Boston visit has to more valuable to them then having Carolina or Washington come to town

  11. Jeff - Dec 5, 2011 at 12:30 AM

    The teams that need realignment the most are Detroit, Winnipeg, Columbus and Nashville. This four conference plan looks good to me.

  12. rgledz - Dec 5, 2011 at 12:42 AM


    Your logic in the realignment is so flawed I don’t know where to begin. You argue that Dallas should be in the central, but you don’t mention the team that is almost directly north of them….Minnesota. How insane is it that Winnipeg, Chicago, St. Louis and Detroit are all with around 10 hours drive time and not one of them are in our division?? Dallas is in the same time zone as Minnesota as well and the Wild have division games in Vancouver for God’s sake. The proposed alignment is perfect. All of the division rivals are no more than one time zone away and people in the midwest can watch their teams play before the worthless 9:30pm central start time. The old Norris division was classic, this gives us a taste of those timeless rivalries.

  13. greatminnesotasportsmind - Dec 5, 2011 at 1:16 AM

    What everybody is forgetting is how much better this makes the NHL as a whole.

    1. Just about all conferences in this proposal are localized for the most part. No more Minnesota division games in Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton. Dallas doesn’t have division games in San Jose, Anaheim, LA, or Phoenix.

    2. What makes a rival? A playoff series. With this proposal your guaranteed 3 series of strictly divisional series. We have seen what Chicago/Detroit has been. Old schoolers remember the Chicago/St. Louis series where the penalty boxes were over crowded 4-6 deep at times. Having Minnesota and Dallas (former Minnesota team) meet could be intriguing.

    3. How can Detroit not love this? Keeps same rivalries as now but adds Minnesota, Winnipeg, and Dallas. Not nearly as many late starts. 8:00 for them is better than 10:00. Same with Dallas and Minnesota.

  14. cshearing - Dec 5, 2011 at 9:19 AM

    Looks good to me. It’ll all have to be changed again once Phoenix and another team or two more move within the next few years anyhow.

  15. thomaspratt - Dec 5, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    I suppose if you’re not a regular reader of Brooks’ Sunday column you might not have noticed that this is part of a persistent bias against radical realignment. I would take anything Brooks says on this topic would a grain of salt.

  16. kibbee2545 - Dec 5, 2011 at 10:06 PM

    No matters what happen in re alignment Detroit will be playing in the play offs and fighting for the cup as they have done for years

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