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Report: Realignment won’t happen this season, possible for 2013-14

Jan 6, 2013, 6:05 PM EDT

Blue Jackets Jets Hockey AP

Last week there was talk about the Columbus Blue Jackets and Winnipeg Jets swapping places in a potential shortened season. Now that the lockout is over and we will have either a 48 or 50-game season, fans in those cities will be happy (or wildly disappointed) to know nothing will change.

Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press reports there will be no realignment this season, but they do expect to see plans for realignment reactivated for the 2013-14 season. This just means the potential travel reprieve both the Jets and Jackets would’ve gotten from trading places won’t happen this year.

If realignment talk is real and we will see something happen during the offseason, there are a lot of moves that could be made. The NHL tried to make realignment happen during last season, but saw that shut down by the players’ association.

  1. fortwaynekomets - Jan 6, 2013 at 6:35 PM

    the least of fans worries!

  2. murtdurt - Jan 6, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    Please no. Don’t fix what’s not broken and as of today…it’s no longer broken

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jan 6, 2013 at 8:52 PM

      It is terribly broken. That could be the most idiotic statement I’ve ever heard/seen on here.

      Winnipeg has no business playing their divisional rivals of Florida, Tampa, Washington, and Carolina. Minnesota is their closest NHL team a mere 850 miles from Winnipeg to St. Paul.

      Minnesota has no business being in the northwest. Every divisional road game is at least one time zone away. Vancouver is 2 time zones away. No reason, Minnesota, Dallas, Winnipeg, Chicago, and St. Louis all be in 1 division.

      Dallas plays all their division rivals the same as Minnesota. In other time zones,

      The realignment they had tried was perfect. None of this 20 team playoff nonsense. 4 teams make the playoffs in each division/conference. 1 plays 4 and 2 plays 3. Winners meet to represent that division/conference against the other winner. They play to go to the Finals. It builds rivalries. Minnesota/Winnipeg not playing this year is an absurd joke.

      • dieseldeej - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:34 PM

        Blame Don Fehr for the the 4-conference plan (which was proposed by the Red Wings) not being implmented…The reason, the players in the East didn’t want the increased travel…The NHL also needs to fix the schedule to have every team play in every arena at least once a season…The NBA has the same number of teams, and plays the same number of games, and they do it

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jan 7, 2013 at 2:26 PM

        To a point on Fehr your 100% correct, however I think he just saw the opportunity to use that as a bargaining chip in CBA talks

      • murtdurt - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:30 AM

        Rivalries are built in the playoffs let them meet there. Think if minny was in that proposed conference with detroit, st.louis, nashville, chicago and winnipeg and for arguments sake winnipeg and minny are on the outside looking in (not far fetched as those 4 teams all made it last year). But minny had more points then say san jose who gets in because their in the other conference. I think you would be more then a little peeved that your team, as things are now would have made it in as a 7 or 8 seed. My point is there are going to be some good, and in some cases very good teams on the outside looking in when they should in reality be in. Also moving the pens away from playing the flyers and caps is one of the dumbest things ever given your argument for rivalries. Swap columbus for Winnipeg and call it a day.

  3. killerpgh - Jan 6, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    It will be interesting to see if what the CBA says about realignment. As in if the NHLPA and NHL have to agree on it or if the NHL can do what it wants. Since it is a issue for both (cost for owners, traveling for players) I would I guess both side need to agree on it.

  4. stevedurbano - Jan 6, 2013 at 7:15 PM

    Just leave the Preds in the Blues division. Evolving into a great rivalry, and Nashville is turning into a great hockey town.

  5. mnwildfan15 - Jan 6, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    Minnesota doesn’t belong in the northwest Winnipeg moves to the nw Nashville goes to se and minny goes to the central easy as that

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:04 PM

      Nah, you need the Wild and Jets together. Calgary, as the next closest city, is twice as far from Winnipeg as St Paul, and all the NW teams are in a different time zone.

    • dieseldeej - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:48 PM

      I like your idea for Minnesota and Winnipeg, however DETROIT was promised when Toronto moved that they would be the next West to East move…Detroit to the Northeast (set-up original 6 battles with Toronto and Montreal), Buffalo to the Atlantic (rivalry with Pittsburgh), and Philadelphia to the Southeast (rivalry with Washington)

  6. watchfullhose - Jan 6, 2013 at 8:01 PM

    Count this CBJ fan as one of the wildly disappointed (watching all road games in another time zones?). Oh we’ll….at least we have the game back.

  7. steelers88 - Jan 6, 2013 at 8:02 PM

    Dang I wanted to play Columbus more. Easy win for my Pens!

  8. lionstigersandwingsohmy - Jan 6, 2013 at 9:03 PM

    When the NHL realigned to east and west, there was a gentleman’s agreement that they would move Detroit back to the east when there was a need to realign again. I doubt this will happen, but the wings have had the worst travel schedule (when you include all the playoff travel) of anyone. I would prefer to see something other than east and west, maybe like baseball. All the people who say it isn’t broke are eastern conference fans.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jan 6, 2013 at 9:36 PM

      Yeah the Wings are so bad at travel. All those games in Columbus, Chicago, and St. Louis is so hard. Makes Minnesota’s travels to Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, and Denver easy.

      Makes Dallas’ travel to Phoenix, San Jose, Anaheim, and Los Angeles a walk in the park.

      • lionstigersandwingsohmy - Jan 7, 2013 at 9:58 AM

        It’s not regular season travel that is the problem, it’s the playoffs. Thee rounds before the finals is a lot of travel to the west coast from Detroit, while the eastern conference teams can take a bus ride to half of thier opponents.

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jan 7, 2013 at 10:44 AM

        It’s not a whole lot better for Chicago or Minnesota. Detroit would have an easier playoff travel schedule compared to Nashville or Columbus.

        If that’s a big problem for all you Red Wing fans, than you need to be on board with the realignment. Traveling to Minnesota, Chicago, Winnipeg, St. Louis, Dallas, Columbus, or Nashville for 2 playoff series is better than what they have now. Then if you beat 2 of those teams, then you have to only travel out west for 1 series before playing an eastern team for the Cup.

      • dieseldeej - Jan 7, 2013 at 6:25 PM

        The Red Wings proposed the 4 conference plan that Fehr put the kibosh on…In the Wings’ conference they added Minnesota, Winnipeg and Dallas to the current Central division…The Wings were definitely on board…And I think it was great that they had the Wild and Stars in there as well

  9. juanhughjazz - Jan 6, 2013 at 9:23 PM

    Well, if they’re not going to keep the promise made to the Red Wings, I have a simple solution. Realign to Northern and Southern conferences. Let everyone deal with a buttload of 10 EST starts. And let the teams with bad ice play each other more.

  10. fortwaynekomets - Jan 6, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    I suggest… the return of the NORRIS division!

    Toronto
    Chicago
    Detroit
    St. Louis
    Minnesota

    • jtrain1966 - Jan 7, 2013 at 2:58 AM

      Sounds just fine to me ! I liked how that turned out in the late 80′s, early 90′s . Them Blues vs. Blackhawks games from back then were absolutely F#*KING AWESOME !

      • lostpuppysyndrome - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:06 PM

        And this time, the Jets would have an easier time against the Oilers and Calgary…

    • ussportsfanuk - Jan 7, 2013 at 5:38 PM

      Think they should bring back the Norris Division! I’m doing an alternate realignment plan on my blog and have the Maple Leafs back in with the teams you mentioned!

  11. dprouse - Jan 6, 2013 at 10:24 PM

    The problem with realignment is that you have one team (Winnipeg) who would like to go West, and a whole raft of teams (Detroit, Columbus, Nashville to name just three) who would like to go East. 22 of the NHL’s 30 teams are East of the Continental Divide – that’s just an inescapable geographic fact. Another fact is that at least two of the three potential expansion/relocation markets (Quebec, Southern Ontario and Seattle) are in the East, and you have to wonder just how much longer the Coyotes will last in the desert. If the NHL insists on sticking with the East/West Conference alignment, inevitably you are going to have travel issues for a number of the “West” teams.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jan 6, 2013 at 11:16 PM

      It doesn’t matter if it east/west or Gretzky/Lemieux conferences. Chicago is east of the continental divide but are on the western side of the NHL map.

      The realignment proposed coincidentally had 2 divisions or conferences that had 1 less team. If
      I’m not mistaken one was on the far west (hello Seattle) and the other were with Montreal (hello Quebec). Also it wouldn’t be that hard if the Sprint Center in Oklahoma got a team and Detroit gets their wish to east and Oklahoma took Detroit’s spot.

      Nothing wrong with what they had proposed.

  12. Buford T Justice - Jan 6, 2013 at 11:48 PM

    How about not even have Divisions ?? , just play out the Conference , the top 8 make it and the rest go fishing . This BS that a required Division winner gets a higher seed ( in some cases) then a team that has more points then they do from another Division is BS as well.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:21 AM

      Teams should be awarded a higher seed for winning their division. Works out well for the NFL, I believe a few years ago New England finished 10-6 and missed the playoffs and a team won a division with a 9-7 record hosted a home playoff game. Nearly worked that way last year. New Jersey had more points than Florida, and they seemed to do okay last year in the playoffs

      • lionstigersandwingsohmy - Jan 7, 2013 at 9:51 AM

        It works in football because of the playoff format, one loss and you’re out. You don’t need it in a best of seven series.

    • jtrain1966 - Jan 7, 2013 at 3:01 AM

      Agreed !

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:07 PM

      Divisions create better rivalries than one big conference. It’s just a way to get (mostly) nearby teams to play each other more frequently.

  13. dieseldeej - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    If just trading Columbus for Winnepeg is what the NHL is thinking for 2013-14, then it’s another reason to fire Bettman…When Toronto was moved to the East, Bettman told the Red Wings that they would be moved to the East the next time the need arises…The Red Wings should be moved to the Northeast Division, Buffalo to the Atlantic, and Philadelphia to the Southeast, Winnepeg to the Northwest, and Minnesota to the Central

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jan 7, 2013 at 2:33 PM

      That’s terrible. Sure Detroit may have been promised to be the next to move East. But your keywords were “when the situation arises.”

      I see if Quebec gets a team they’d be more realistic to be in the east over Detroit. It makes more sense to have Detroit in with Chicago, St. Louis, Columbus, Minnesota.

      • dieseldeej - Jan 7, 2013 at 6:35 PM

        The situation “arose” when Atlanta moved to Winnipeg…The NHL couldn’t do it in 2011-12 because the move happened too quickly, and the lockout takes it out of play this season…If there is an East-West conference set-up, the Red Wings should be in the East over Columbus

    • phillyfan98 - Jan 7, 2013 at 2:42 PM

      I don’t understand all this talk about Philadelphia to Southeast. Why would the NHL want to get rid of the Philadelphia/Pittsburgh,Philadelphia/New Jersey, Philadelphia/New York Rangers rivalry? Moving the Red Wings to the Northeast and Minnesota out of Northwest makes sense but Philadelphia to Southeast makes no sense at all.

      • dieseldeej - Jan 7, 2013 at 6:39 PM

        You would create at Philadelphia-Washington rivalry, and they are the closest NHL cities to each other

      • Buford T Justice - Jan 7, 2013 at 7:33 PM

        Well techincally the NYR, NJ & NYI are alot closer to one another then Philly-Washington.

  14. rangersfan94 - Jan 7, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    I like the idea of the four-conference realignment proposed last season, but am not a fan of putting FLA and TB with the five current Northeast Division teams. Here is my idea:

    Smythe/Western Conference: Would remain the same as proposed last season, ANA, CGY, COL, EDM, LA, PHX, SJ, and VAN.

    Norris/Central Conference: CHI, DAL, DET, MIN, NSH, STL, and WPG. DET would be the only team in the Eastern Time Zone in its conference, but would play only one road game in each city in the Mountain and Pacific Time Zones, so the Wings would still benefit from a travel standpoint.

    Adams/Northeastern Conference: BOS, BUF, CLM, MTL, OTT, PIT, and TOR. I know I am breaking up PIT and PHI. But there is no alignment that will make all 30 teams and their fans happy. PIT was in the Northeast Division from 1993-94 to 1997-98 with BOS, BUF, MTL, and OTT, so this wouldn’t be totally foreign to the Penguins. And CLM is the closest NHL team to PIT geographically.

    Patrick/Eastern Conference: CAR, FLA, NJ, NYI, NYR, PHI, TB, and WSH. The last seven teams all played together in the Atlantic Division from 1993-94 to 1997-98. Adding CAR to this group only makes sense.

    Keep the proposed schedule the same, playing 36-38 Conference games, and home-and-home with teams in the other three conferences. Have four teams from each conference make the playoffs, even in the eight-team conferences.

    I don’t know if the league would want to keep geographic names for its conferences, or use the division names used from 1974-75 to 1992-93 as its conference names, so I have included both ideas.

    • dieseldeej - Jan 7, 2013 at 6:45 PM

      I know I’m being picky, but isn’t Buffalo closer to Pittsburgh than Columbus?

      I agree that in a 4-conference set-up, the two 8 team conferences should be the 16 eastern-most teams

      • rangersfan94 - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:35 PM

        According to mapquest.com, Consol Energy Center (PIT) is 186.13 miles from Nationwide Arena (CLM). CEC is 218.67 miles from First Niagara Center (BUF).

        The proposed realignment last season had the two eight-team conferences being the 16 western-most teams. The problem with having the two eight-team conferences being the 16 eastern-most teams is that a team such as COL would have to move into the Norris/Central Conference. The travel for the Avalanche might not be so bad, but I don’t think teams in the Central Time Zone would want to play three games per season in Colorado.

  15. ussportsfanuk - Jan 7, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    I think that ultimately not everyone is going to be happy whatever happens. Compromises will have to be made. I’m attempting an alternative realignment plan on my blog at the moment and trying to sort out the ‘Eastern’ teams is more difficult due to the longer standing rivalries.

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