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Report: Columbus and Winnipeg trade conferences in a shortened season

Dec 28, 2012, 7:45 PM EDT

Derek Dorsett, Alexander Burmistrov Getty Images

The topic of realignment hasn’t come up at all in CBA negotiations, but if a new deal is reached to save the season we might see two teams trade conferences.

Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports there’s talk within the NHL of having the Columbus Blue Jackets and Winnipeg Jets trading spots for this year only pending future realignment. The benefit here during a possible 48-game schedule is on travel.

If the Jets start a shortened season in the Southeast Division once again, travel for them would be murderous over the course of the four or five month season. Columbus staying in the Central Division wouldn’t be much better for them travel-wise and certainly wouldn’t be helpful competitively.

On the upside, we’d get to have that awkward “Rick Nash returns to Columbus as a New York Ranger” game right away this season. There’d also be Sergei Bobrovsky‘s revenge match with Philadelphia to look forward to as well.

If it’s just a one-season fix, it works out just fine. It cuts down on manic travel for a couple teams in awkward positions and opens the door for things to be fixed for good in the offseason.

Plus, as Brooks so bluntly put it, you’re trading one non-playoff team for another one in the name of easing travel. Win-win situation.

  1. lewdood - Dec 28, 2012 at 8:03 PM

    I was just about to ask about potential realignment in the new CBA proposal. This is a good short-term fix, but I hope they’re able to straighten out the whole mess permanently before 2013-14. Who knows, we may have the Coyotes playing in QC at Le Colisee before the new arena is completed, too, so it’s gonna take some juggling. But I’ll definitely be glad to see the Jets play the Wild again. Those games last year were two of the best I watched all season.

  2. husky2score - Dec 28, 2012 at 8:06 PM

    Oh my gosh we are talking about possible NHL games on PHT!!!!! Something good must happen now!!!!!!!!!!

  3. greatminnesotasportsmind - Dec 28, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    They need to have the realignment that the league passed last December. It helps more teams than it hurts. Minnesota and Dallas had zero reason to have division games not one but two time zones away.

    Glad to hear Winnipeg is where they should be, okay well better than being in the southeast. This could be the first good move the league has made. Minnesota/Winnipeg has a chance to be a fantastic rivalry, especially after what we say last year.

    • lordfletcher - Dec 28, 2012 at 9:31 PM

      “Minnesota/Winnipeg has a chance to be a fantastic rivalry”

      hell yeah!!!! I would love to make the trip north for that each year

    • antkowiak666 - Dec 29, 2012 at 8:56 AM

      16 teams in the west and only 14 in the east was not fair.they need to have 15 in each comference.

  4. takingbovadasmoney - Dec 28, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    While your at it NHL, just eliminate teams in Columbus, Phoenix, Carolina, and Florida.

    • adamczak2012 - Dec 28, 2012 at 9:56 PM

      Columbus is a phenomenal hockey market. It once had 56 straight sellouts. Was in the top half of the league in attendance for 8 consecutive years. It had better attendance than the Chicago Blackhawks for 5 straight seasons. Columbus also has the largest adult hockey league in the United States.

      Columbus is a better hockey market than half the cities in the NHL. After nearly a decade of losing the team still drew more than 15,000 fans/ game.

      If you think Columbus should be eliminated, you’re just showing your ignorance. If you know nothing about hockey please don’t post any comments on a hockey story.

    • hockeyfan1701 - Dec 28, 2012 at 11:08 PM

      Hey takingbovadasmoney did you forget Carolina won the cup in 05-06 and made it to the Conference Finals in 08-09, oooooohh wait you know zero about hockey, you just like to run your mouth.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Dec 29, 2012 at 2:14 AM

      And I’ll make the case on Florida’s behalf.

      Let’s not pretend Florida is anywhere as good of a hockey market as Toronto, Montreal, and etc. However any hockey market will not show up when a team isn’t competitive for over a decade. No matter the team. Last year attendance started going up as the Panthers became more relevant. They did sell out all 4 home playoff games and lost Game 7 to the eventual eastern conference champion in overtime. The majority of that team is coming back. Not to mention they have built a top 5 prospect pool as well.

      Until last year, the last time they made the playoffs, the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jacket hadn’t played an NHL game yet. The Atlanta Thrashers were an expansion team and Nashville was in their second season and Bill Clinton was still in office and and twin towers still stood tall over manhattan. No market will support a team that is dreadful for that long. Now they at least have a pulse.

  5. ironmike778 - Dec 28, 2012 at 9:03 PM

    And Anaheim.

    • blomfeld - Dec 28, 2012 at 11:32 PM

      Anaheim is a franchise that should be relocated immediately. Unlike the LA Kings which has a diehard albeit “small” following and is the “original” sunbelt team that worked, the Ducks are nothing more than a cosmetic “freak show” holding court in a region which couldn’t positively “care less” about ice hockey. The team should be relocated post haste and the “few” season ticket holders which they have, should be arrested and taken in to police custody for questioning.

      • zetaone - Dec 28, 2012 at 11:45 PM

        Especially being SO CLOSE to Los Angeles. If Anaheim has a team, why not Hamilton or Mississauga?

      • blomfeld - Dec 29, 2012 at 12:07 AM

        Zetazone – I “hear ya man” but trust me, I know the deal. There exists a “world” of difference between LA and Orange counties when it comes to hockey. Now while that may sound like Eskimos arguing over bananas or something, it’s true nonetheless. As fake as LA is, you can times that by “10” by the time you get to Garden Grove on the 405 Freeway! Look, I completely support NHL teams being set up in Hamilton and Mississauga “post haste” and hopefully Gary will soon come to that realization too? But it’s not easy man, as you can’t do that stuff overnight.

        ps: your handle sounds a little Hispanic, so perhaps you might enjoy the following ?

      • tbbolts91 - Dec 29, 2012 at 1:39 AM

        i saw daniel tosh wear a ducks jersey, therefore the ducks do what they want.

      • mgp1219 - Dec 29, 2012 at 10:32 AM

        shut up blomfeld.
        go away and take all of your “unnecessary” and “meaningless” “quotation marks” with you.

  6. keepphil - Dec 28, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    Allow me to vote for all Southeast divisions when I say WooooHooooooo!

  7. sportsfan69 - Dec 28, 2012 at 9:28 PM

    Let it be permanent. It makes sense for both teams. Hog wash on relocating either Florida teams. It brings the league great TV market exposure and corporate sponsorships. If you going to relocate a team, let it be Phoenix to Seattle. It keeps a team out West. Plus, the rivalry you would have with Vancouver and Seattle would be great. Relocate NY Islanders to Quebec or NJ Devils to Quebec.

    • blomfeld - Dec 28, 2012 at 11:09 PM

      Sportsfan – Well said my friend The way I see it, there should be “no” NHL franchises anywhere in the old Confederacy, period! Despite the fact that these people are good, decent, values-driven folk for the most part, the fact remains that ice hockey is not in their blood and nor is it indigenous to their culture. I’ve always maintained that no NHL team should be located anywhere “beyond” 500 miles from the Canadian border. Of course there can be the odd exception where justified, such as LA, Colorado, St Louis, etc. But outside of that, these Confederate “sunbelt” cities have no more business having an NHL team, than Inuvik has of hosting a Nascar event! NHL hockey is not meant to be like some “hooker” who’s rented for entertainment and told what to do by some freak. It’s a real, living, breathing “thing” that should be cared for and granted due respect, by having it play only in those locales that are kindred.

      ps: the Rangers are well within 500 miles from the Canadian border ! :)

      • tbbolts91 - Dec 29, 2012 at 1:41 AM

        since when was hockey a part of California culture? dumbass.

      • boukengreen - Dec 29, 2012 at 2:40 AM

        then the way i see it there should be no nascar north of the mason-dixon line cause its not in their blood or indigenous to their culture but i will make an exception of indy

  8. blomfeld - Dec 28, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    ICH BIN EIN NHL’er !

    Friends, even though it’s a few days late, it does look now like we’re going to get the one Christmas present which we all wanted the most … NHL hockey! (ie: it’s actually already confirmed with the puck dropping on Saturday January 19th @ 1500 hrs EST) And if you want a “source” for that, then just look up at the sky there in the blue yonder :) ).

    Anyway, this realignment of the Jackets and Jets is just another example of the many “good” things which are now to surely result because of this little upset. And any notions that permanent damage has been done to the game are “idiotic” to say the least. The fact is that the game was already badly damaged well before this upset started and it needed attention. Well now thanks to Gary and crew, that damage is being repaired and then some, so that we don’t have to travel down this road again anytime soon. This much needed overhaul of the league was never going to be any easy process and the task of leading this overhaul effort was never going to be easy job. The contrived impasse, the paying off of Fehr, the fake press conferences, the phoney meetings, etc … all very confusing and difficult stuff. But Gary Bettman has been up to the challenge and it does all make sense when you look at it now, eh? It’s said that sometimes “the ends do justify the means”. Well I would submit to you friends, that this was definitely one such time.

    GO BETTMAN !!! :)

    GO END OF LOCKOUT !!!!!! :)

    • rainyday56 - Dec 28, 2012 at 11:11 PM

      Blomfeld = Bettman

      id4joey = Daly

      • blomfeld - Dec 28, 2012 at 11:20 PM

        Rainyday56 = Castro ?

  9. messiahleper2012 - Dec 28, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    Keyword(s)….”once had”….like how Atlanta “once had” a team (well actually twice).

  10. spicyjimbolaya - Dec 28, 2012 at 10:17 PM

    Four words that will bring back hockey fans……

    Smythe, Norris, Adams, Patrick.

    • blomfeld - Dec 28, 2012 at 11:37 PM

      I concur with that …

    • zetaone - Dec 28, 2012 at 11:53 PM

      Why do we even need divisions? Why not just two conferences? Top 8 in each make the playoffs. No more 89 points makes 3rd place garbage… I’d like to see less “division play” and more “conference play”. instead of having 6 divison (used to be 8) games per team, have it 4 games per team in your conference. The remaining games can be against the opposite conference.

  11. leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Dec 28, 2012 at 10:53 PM

    As a Lightning fan, I not only support this decision but would also vote to just keep Colombus in the division for good.

    You know, purely for travel reasons and nothing to do with cheap wins.

  12. dkphilly1122 - Dec 28, 2012 at 11:13 PM

    Is this guy serious with the Columbus being a hockey city?? Better attendance than Chicago?? I live in the present day as do most people not in the past. Columbus should have been terminated years ago. It is irrelevant in hockey and will be for years to come. Columbus has the largest adult hockey league?? Right, did you read that on a Columbus site seeing website?? All major cities blow Columbus out of the water with there “adult hockey leagues” and real fans. Philly, Chicago, Pittsburgh, NY, NJ, Boston, Detroit, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, and Quebec all blow Columbus away in attendance.

  13. greenfalcon8863 - Dec 28, 2012 at 11:44 PM

    If Columbus is so bad of a hockey city why are there 2 kids (Kuraly, Murphy) on the USA World Junior team from the Columbus area and 2 more (Biggs, Miller) from other areas in Ohio. Ohio and Michigan have the most representatives (4) of all states.

  14. blomfeld - Dec 28, 2012 at 11:53 PM

    “Is this guy serious with Columbus being a hockey city?” …

    I suspect friend that the person called “adamczak2012” is very serious … and so am I. Columbus Ohio is well within 500 miles “as the crow flies” from the Canadian border and therefore they have “every” right to be an NHL city! They are a hard-working, decent “values-driven” folk in that sector and they have much in common with their brothers to the north. As for Philadelphia? Well I’ve personally no quarrel with you people, apart from what Bobby Clarke did Kharlamov back in ’72 and the fact that “yours” was the birthplace of upset with mother England here in the Americas. Other than that, I’m precluded from saying anything else detrimental towards you people, as I know that you do mean well in the end.

  15. trick9 - Dec 29, 2012 at 2:33 AM

    As a Washington fan i would love this idea.

  16. fortwaynekomets - Dec 29, 2012 at 1:24 PM



  17. stevedurbano - Dec 29, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    OK- on a completely different topic (the shortened season) I assume this means that the schedule will be redone for all the teams? Or are they saying that Columbus and Winnipeg will swap schedules to some extent but the other teams will be unaffected?

  18. ussportsfanuk - Dec 29, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    This sounds like a smart move. Actually think that the Blue Jackets should move ‘East’ permanently, as I’ve written about in a post about re-alignment on my blog. Agree with some on here that the Wild and Jets could be a great rivalry!

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