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NHLPA approves realignment

Mar 7, 2013, 5:45 PM EDT

Donald Fehr: Sidney Crosby AP

NHL players are officially on board with the league’s plan for realignment.

“After discussions with the Executive Board, the NHLPA has given consent to realignment, to be re-evaluated following the 2014-15 season,” said the union’s executive director, Don Fehr, in a statement released Thursday evening.

In December of 2011, the NHL announced a “radical” realignment plan that split the league into four “conferences” as opposed to its current structure of two conferences with three divisions in each.

However, the NHLPA eventually scuttled the plan, citing concerns over travel as well as the fairness of the proposed playoff qualification system.

The league’s last reported proposal was back to two conferences — Western and Eastern — with four divisions.

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division

New Jersey
New York Islanders
New York Rangers

Central Division

Tampa Bay

Western Conference

Mid-West Division

St. Louis

Pacific Division

Los Angeles
San Jose

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly released the following statement following the union’s announcement:

“The NHL Players’ Association confirmed to us today that it has consented to a revised plan for realignment, effective for the 2013-14 season. Our next step will be to bring the proposed plan for realignment to the NHL Board of Governors for its consideration. We will update the status of the process as future developments warrant.”

Related: NHL will address how expansion/relocation impacts realignment if it happens

  1. ethanmacleod1685 - Mar 7, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    Potential Boston/NYR Stanley cup final, yea I’m game !

    • ron05342 - Mar 7, 2013 at 5:51 PM

      Uh, dude: they are still in the same conference. 😐

      • jonzerjay - Mar 8, 2013 at 10:27 AM

        158 of you need to — read up on playoff formatting for the new realignment…good things are happening! – and yes BOSTON/NYR is possible

      • jonzerjay - Mar 8, 2013 at 1:10 PM


        No inter-conference Cup. I had my head wrapped around one of the early realignment proposals.

    • ussportsfanuk - Mar 8, 2013 at 5:57 PM

      Did a realignment plan on my blog the other day that would have had the Bruins and Rangers as a potential Stanley Cup Final!

  2. bcsteele - Mar 7, 2013 at 5:51 PM

    Well that kills the Detroit / St. Louis Rivalry. Not sure I like much of this but oh well.

    • jpelle82 - Mar 7, 2013 at 7:06 PM

      wasnt that great anyway, looking forward to pens – wings for a while

      • govtminion - Mar 7, 2013 at 7:12 PM

        Wasn’t that great? Really? I don’t even like either of those teams, and I know I enjoy watching them clash.

    • dtownbeatdown - Mar 7, 2013 at 8:14 PM

      As a Detroit fan I don’t get excited playing St. Louis, I’d rather be playing the Pens, Chicago, Boston, the original 6 teams. I will miss the Chicago battles… But hey I would love to see that Stanley Cup final.

    • chanceoffleury1 - Mar 7, 2013 at 9:06 PM

      Detroit-Boston/Toronto/Montreal should probably keep you pretty busy.

    • elrock7 - Mar 7, 2013 at 9:33 PM

      Really, until the last few years Blues were below average. Detroits days of coasting through that formerly long time weakest division in hockey, are over

      • dtownbeatdown - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:42 PM

        Oh yea coasting through Chicago, Nashville, St. Louis, and the Blue Jackets has been a real easy division. You jackass! Those were all playoff teams in the past 4 years. Southeast division anyone?

  3. salmon90 - Mar 7, 2013 at 5:58 PM

    Not bad but in the West they should have made these two divisions:
    The ‘Good to watch’ Division (we can work on the name)
    San Jose

    The ‘Clutch and Grab, Block Shots and Trap’ Division
    St Louis

    Calgary and Winnipeg – undecided. Maybe a ‘Rockies/Prairies’ mini – division?

    • salmon90 - Mar 7, 2013 at 6:01 PM

      …and I guess take Detroit out as they’re in the East now.

      • ron05342 - Mar 7, 2013 at 6:08 PM

        I am guessing that you are a clod for not seeing that in the first place.

      • salmon90 - Mar 7, 2013 at 6:12 PM

        or just that my realignment plans were based off the current setup. Clod’s a bit harsh no?

      • ron05342 - Mar 7, 2013 at 6:15 PM

        @ salmon90

        Perhaps. But I still don’t get you putting some of the best teams in the league in the so-called “Clutch and Grab, Block Shots and Trap” division.

    • blomfeld - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:53 PM

      Just a minute there Salmon Breath …

      You have the nerve to include the reigning Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings in your proposed “Clutch & Grab” division ? What are you, nuts or something? Only two nights ago we went on another one of our famous 3rd period “blitzkriegs” by scoring 5 unanswered goals against a St.Louis Blues team which still today doesn’t know what hit them! Besides being the undisputed “best” professional ice hockey team in the world today, the LA Kings are probably also the most “sexy & lethal” group of players ever assembled. Drama, excitement and entertainment are our credos and we make “mince meat” out of teams like your robotic Canucks! If anything, “you” people should be reassigned back to the Western Hockey League where you belong, together with your “paper-mache” Presidents Trophies …

      The LA KINGS “RULE” not only today, but will so tomorrow and forever ! :) :) :)

    • salmon90 - Mar 8, 2013 at 1:39 PM

      Should I add: ‘collapse to the net’ then? Hitchcock, Sutter, Tippet, Trotz = terrific effective coaches but boring to watch. Thumbs down all you want but unless you’re a fan of those teams you can’t tell me they’re fun to watch.

  4. chill1184 - Mar 7, 2013 at 6:02 PM


  5. sjsharks66 - Mar 7, 2013 at 6:02 PM

    6 games against Calgary and Edmonton? How boring…

    • murtdurt - Mar 7, 2013 at 6:13 PM

      Didn’t the sharks lose to the flames last night?? The only thing boring about that game was San Jose’s offense.

      • mehetmet - Mar 8, 2013 at 7:33 AM

        how does boring and winning/losing equate? He didn’t say “oh man, easy wins vs Calgary and Edmonton” he just said those games are boring.

        You can win every time against those teams and think its boring.

        You can lose every time against those teams and think its boring.

    • ron05342 - Mar 7, 2013 at 6:16 PM

      Yup. I guess you were bored when Calgary tagged your team for 3 goals in the final frame last night.

  6. muttbolts - Mar 7, 2013 at 6:03 PM


  7. mclovinhockey - Mar 7, 2013 at 6:10 PM


  8. letsgopens8771 - Mar 7, 2013 at 6:17 PM

    I feel SOO Bad for Columbus. They suck and aren’t going to make the playoffs as it is, now they get put in a division with all the Big Boys: Pittsburgh, Philly, Rangers, and New Jersey. Wow. Stacked Atlantic there. Overall, this isn’t too bad. I can live with this. Winnipeg also got a lot of tough teams

    The Central Division Intrests me a lot. Detroit gets Original 6 teams Boston, Toronto, and Montreal. Those will be fun games to watch.

    • unionblue17 - Mar 7, 2013 at 8:07 PM

      but it will be an epic battle for last with the Islanders! ….. at any rate I’m just glad to get away from the Preds… I hate them.

      Go Jackets

    • rodeoclowndc - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:40 PM

      Exactly what I was thinking for CBJ. I love the fight I’m seeing in them right now, but they’re gonna have to grow some big stones in this division to avoid being perpetually 5th.

    • mehetmet - Mar 8, 2013 at 7:36 AM

      Teams aren’t good forever, just like teams aren’t bad forever.

      Proof: the kings one the cup last year
      Proof: Montreal has more cups than anyone, and didn’t make the playoffs last year.

    • contraryguy - Mar 8, 2013 at 10:38 AM

      Like it was easy before! Central division teams were in 3 of the last 5 Stanley Cup Finals. Things are tough all over for the CBJ, but at least more of the games will be in the Eastern time zone, and shorter travel for the team. And there’s always the Islanders to beat up on.

  9. jpat2424 - Mar 7, 2013 at 6:17 PM

    Hate it

  10. whosennext - Mar 7, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    I do not like the playoff format by giving the same amount of spots as the eastern conference. Unless they are planning to add 2 more franchise to make it balanced, the west has a advantage having 2 less teams for the same amount of playoff spots.

  11. mclovinhockey - Mar 7, 2013 at 6:24 PM

    16 vs 14 teams with a plan to hurt the chance of QC getting a team back and making sure every team has to travel so so much for divisional games all because of the jets being in the south east… Yup this has to be a joke. Only a bunch of morons would think this makes any sense.

    Horrific idea full of flaws. Thank you west coast for giving up one of your few good teams to the east which is full of good teams to make the east a bigger challenge and the west a joke. Sorry but Datsyuk not being a part of the west leaves very few stars in the west outside of Chicago, Van and LA

  12. thomaspratt - Mar 7, 2013 at 6:41 PM

    They could literally pull teams from out of a hat to create divisions for all I care. The most important thing to me is that each team will visit every other team starting next season. To that I say, WOOHOO!

  13. dadawg77 - Mar 7, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    Move Chicago to the central to make it 15 & 15. But a Det vs Chi Cup would be epic.

  14. jpelle82 - Mar 7, 2013 at 7:10 PM

    poor columbus, getting thrown into an even harder division than they were already in. hope washington is ready to play with the big boys again instead of beating up on the worst division in hockey every year…i guess boston gets that luxury now…

    • dtownbeatdown - Mar 7, 2013 at 8:19 PM

      Right because Detroit is going to be a breeze for Boston. Doubt it.

  15. bowltr - Mar 7, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    Hate it. Why not 15 & 15? Leave Detroit where they are. Breaking up the old Norris Division must really suck for SL Chic and Min.
    Then again what do you expect from Bettman!

    • ussportsfanuk - Mar 8, 2013 at 6:01 PM

      Think it is a real shame they are splitting the Red Wings and Blackhawks. In the plan I did this rivalry was retained, along with all the other main and historical rivalries.

  16. tampabayirish - Mar 7, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    Not a fan of the realignment plan at all. I think it would have been better to let things settle (Phoenix, Seattle, Quebec City, 2nd team in Toronto, expanding by two more teams, etc.) before the league realigned. The West will now have two fewer teams than the East. What if Toronto gets a 2nd team and Quebec gets a team? The East will be further overloaded.

    • mehetmet - Mar 8, 2013 at 7:38 AM

      That’s why its to be re-evaluated after the 2014-15 season. did you read the article?

      • ussportsfanuk - Mar 8, 2013 at 6:03 PM

        Doesn’t seem great forward thinking though to basically say ‘here is a plan but it won’t work in two years so we’re going to have to do it again’!

  17. lateralous - Mar 7, 2013 at 8:32 PM

    Ugh, I thought we were done with this picture of Fehr.

    • ron05342 - Mar 8, 2013 at 2:57 AM

      I want the one where he has his nose in the air as though he is sniffing his own fart.

      Come on, PHT, I know you keep these stock photos forever. Don’t disappoint us!

  18. Jeff - Mar 7, 2013 at 8:47 PM

    Not sure I like it.

  19. chanceoffleury1 - Mar 7, 2013 at 9:15 PM

    Dear Carolina and Washington,

    Welcome to the Jungle!!! Can’t wait to see you try and win a real division.

    Signed, the Atlantic.

  20. ironman721 - Mar 7, 2013 at 9:56 PM

    Agreed. But could the NHL make it any easier for Chicago?

    • comeonnowguys - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:22 PM

      Look at the travel.

      Look at all the 9 p.m. starts.

      And, with that genius wildcard, there’s a chance they could still play early rounds out west.

      Not to mention losing a storied rival, a rivalry with more games than any other in the league history, and the only other Original Six team in the West.

      Chicago fans shouldn’t be dancing in the streets over this.

      • ironman721 - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:42 PM

        Chicago is giving up an hour of sleep to play an AHL division. Please stop crying😿. Let’s go Pens🐧❗

      • comeonnowguys - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:49 PM

        Be forced to stay up to midnight just watch half your road games and playoff games. Then we’ll talk.

      • ironman721 - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:55 PM

        Ok comeonman, that does suck. I’ll give you that. NHL will probably adjust playoff start time to make more💰. But regular season will suck.

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Mar 8, 2013 at 12:43 AM

        Oh, so we are just handing the Cup to Chicago next 3 years? Let’s be honest, Chicago’s streak is extremely impressive, however, only once in the past 10 years has the President’s Trophy winner (best record) has won the Stanley Cup.

        Is it just me or did St. Louis finish with a better record last year than Chicago? is it just me or did Nashville finish with a better record last year than Chicago. So before we just give the division title to Chicago for the next 10 seasons, let’s let them play out.

      • ironman721 - Mar 8, 2013 at 6:38 AM

        Not the cup because the have to beat a team from the east. But if they avoid injuries they should roll over an average division.

      • ussportsfanuk - Mar 8, 2013 at 6:06 PM

        On the plan on my blog I kept the Blackhawks – Red wings rivalry. All their divisional games were in the Central or Eastern time zones and they only had to travel west of the Central time zone 8 times in a season. They may also not have had to travel west for the playoffs!

  21. kw27p - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:05 PM

    Hate this. Makes no sense. Boston in the central? Columbus in the Atlantic? Wtf is going on here.

  22. DesertEagle1776 - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:06 PM

    The NHL should rename the divisions back to Patrick, Adams, Norris, and Smythe.

    • comeonnowguys - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:32 PM

      If Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis and Minnesota aren’t all in it, it’s not the Norris. Call it something else.

      (Toronto would be nice, but that was never going to happen)

  23. sprtsfan1 - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:11 PM

    Ironman, what are you talking about? You act like the best teams in the NHL are in the East. The East is definitely full of historic teams, but they’re not better than the West, at least for the moment. The Midwest division will be the best for years to come.

    • ironman721 - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:31 PM

      Who is in their division? Dallas ? St. Louis ? Average to just above .500 record teams at best. The rest well below average. The good news is that at least the other division in the west has 2 or 3 good teams. If you are a Blackhawks fan, be happy, do some cartwheels or eat some deep dish pizza or whatever. But honestly it’s a slugfest in the Atlantic.

      • comeonnowguys - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:34 PM

        I’m a Hawks fan, and I couldn’t be less happy. Part of that is that whole Florida in the same division as the Canadian teams and boston in a division called the “Central” hurting my head.

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Mar 8, 2013 at 12:46 AM

        Ironman, St. Louis is just as average as having a better record than Chicago last year. Minnesota is on the right path to being very good.

      • ironman721 - Mar 8, 2013 at 6:43 AM

        The Wild are improving and fun to watch but still not near the level of Chicago (11-9-2). Only 2 games over .500. St. Louis is 3 games over .500 “this year”. Barely above .500. But since 1/2 the league makes the playoffs they will get in.

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Mar 8, 2013 at 10:24 PM


        i don’t think anybody is on the level of chicago. they are on a impresidented streak right now. however, minnesota has had their number the past few years. that was my point. st. louis would have won that division last year. teams have up and downs. it has taken chicago many seasons of losing hockey to get where they are now. eventually, they will bottom out again.

  24. comeonnowguys - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:16 PM

    Yep. Travel times must be addressed.

    That’s why we’re taking away nearby Detroit from Chicago, St. Louis and Nashville and replacing them with… Colorado.

    At least they’re not the Florida teams. What the hell are they thinking?

    This all but proves the previous rejection was the NHLPA was purely a pissing contest with the league, a precursor to the lockout, because this version was even dumber than the previous.

    If they’re not planning on blowing this up after relocation expansion, then they’re idiots.
    Then again, if they were planning all along to blow this up after relocation/expansion, they’re idiots anyway.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Mar 8, 2013 at 12:52 AM


      Your second paragraph is the most ridicious thing I have heard all day, and i’ve been up since 6:00 am. You just lost an argument to yourself. “That’s why we’re taking away nearby Detroit from Chicago, St. Louis, and Nashville and replacing them with… Colorado.” Let me pull up google here and search US and Canadian time zone map. Oh, look, Detroit has a 1 hour time zone difference than Chicago, St. Louis, and Nashville. Let’s look at Colorado… hmmmm look at that would ya. Colorado is 1 hour time zone difference than Chicago, St. Louis, and Nashville.

      As far as the NHLPA rejecting this, your dead on about this. Fehr just used this as a bargaining chip. He should be lucky the NHL even a slight say about this.

      • comeonnowguys - Mar 8, 2013 at 1:12 AM

        With all due respect, you need to google better.

        Detroit to Chicago: 238 miles.
        Denver to Chicago: 920 miles.

        Detroit to St. Louis: 456 miles.
        Denver to St. Louis: 794 miles.

        Detroit to Nashville: 470 miles.
        Denver to Nashville: 1023 miles.

      • comeonnowguys - Mar 8, 2013 at 1:16 AM


      • rodeoclowndc - Mar 8, 2013 at 9:12 AM

        Numbers never lie, brah…

      • ussportsfanuk - Mar 8, 2013 at 6:20 PM

        comeonnowguys is talking about distance and not time zones here. Seem to be some fans mistaking different time zone as a big distance. It can be, but it isn’t always. If you drive over the Hoover Dam you change time zones!

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Mar 8, 2013 at 10:30 PM

        right, but every arugment every detroit fan makes, is detroit should be in the east. they get what they wanted, and they still complain…

        i agree, detroit should be in the west.

        i’m sure we will see resolution one day in phoenix, and see expansion to 2 cities. but there is no reason to hold off on realignment. if and when those 3 things happen, realignment can always be redone.

        realignment needs to be done. there is no reason winnipeg should be playing division games in fort lauderdale area (florida) and tampa bay. the sad part is, with winnipeg playing division games in those cities and making all those trips out east to boston, new york, montreal, ottawa, etc., minnesota still travels further than they do.

    • ussportsfanuk - Mar 8, 2013 at 6:10 PM

      I think people got to focused on the time zone issue in some cases and seemed to forget how close teams like Chicago and Detroit are. As for the Avalanche, they now will be playing all their divisional road games in other time zones!

  25. sprtsfan1 - Mar 7, 2013 at 11:11 PM

    Blomfeld, you’re truly delusional. I’m not a cocky fan, but there really is only one team in the NHL that can actually say they are the best at this moment in time. Yes, you have the Cup for the moment, but that banner raising ceremony was crashed hard.

  26. mnwildfan15 - Mar 8, 2013 at 12:08 AM

    This will work for now Detroit should have stayed in the west. 15-15 makes much more sense but that’s Bettman for ya.

  27. spavs412 - Mar 8, 2013 at 7:56 AM

    Wow they should just let the Atlantic make the playoffs. In the current Atlantic 3-4 teams make the playoffs!! How is adding more playoff contending teams there making sense ?

  28. kvashasux - Mar 8, 2013 at 10:18 AM

  29. buffalomafia - Mar 8, 2013 at 10:32 AM

    Whats up with Columbus in Flyers division? What about the possible Coyotes move?

  30. andromedagalaxe - Mar 8, 2013 at 11:22 AM

    Don’t understand the Columbus/Boston placements. I’m sure it’s because Boston is a “good” team and Columbus is a “shi … umm bad” team and they are trying to “even it out.” But a realignment shouldn’t be based on things like that.

  31. ussportsfanuk - Mar 8, 2013 at 6:35 PM

    It will be good to finally have realignment sorted but if you listen to fans etc of a large number of teams, there do seem to be quite a few issues still. The Blackhawks vs Red wings rivalry is lost, the Lightning and Panthers have to travel to the north of the US and and to Canada for all of their divisional road games, the Avalanche have no divisional road games in their own time zone, the Jets are stuck as the only Canadian team in their division, there is only one Original Six team in one Conference, the Blackhawks will only have 10 games against Original Six rivals compared to 17-19 games for the Red Wings for example, travelling potentially hasn’t been reduced in the playoffs for the Western teams. Finally, due to the uneven Conferences and the prospect of relocation or expansion, the whole situation will have to be looked at again in 2-3 years!

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Mar 8, 2013 at 10:46 PM

      No realignment will ever make every team in the league happy. It’s about the greater good of the league as a whole. The 5 biggest winners are Detroit (they get what they wanted in Eastern conference, as they should be), Columbus (getting to the east like they wanted as well), and the 3 obvious winners are Winnipeg, Minnesota, and Dallas who all play division games mostly in their time zones and a lot closer geographically.

      Colorado, sure they have to play games outside of their time zone, however they have it nicer than Minnesota and Dallas do now. Minnesota and Dallas have a ton of 9 pm starts now. Colorado’s games will be starting at 6:00 out there now for division games.

      Sure, Winnipeg is stuck as the only Canadian team in their division, however, the are the only Canadian team in the central time zone as well. It wouldn’t make sense to break up Edmonton and Calgary. Wouldn;t make sense to have Toronto in their division with Colorado.

      Western playoff teams have a lot better travel. The only way that changes is if 3 teams in division make the playoffs and 5 in the other. Even then, only 1 series has increased travel.

      Sure, if relocation or expansion happen, this will have to be revisited, however, none of that is guaranteed to happen. I’m sure expansion is in the works, but it isn’t 100% guaranteed to happen.

      Unfortunately, somethings are lost, like Detroit vs Chicago and St. Louis.

      Unfortunately, Florida and Tampa get hosed, but where exacty are you going to put them anyways? I’m saying that as a in the closet Panther fan.

      • ussportsfanuk - Mar 9, 2013 at 10:00 AM

        It does seem better for those teams (one in partcicular) but I think there may have been options that could have made things better for more teams or at least without making things worse for a few teams. I do agree that whatever the realignment is then not everyone will be happy and compromises would have to be made but it could perhaps have been made a bit fairer. In the plan on my blog I had four conferences, each spread across two time zones to even out travel. Conferences were:

        Western / Smythe: Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Colorado, San Jose, Anaheim, Los Angeles, Phoenix

        Northern / Adams: Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Buffalo, Winnipeg, Minnesota

        Eastern / Patrick: NY Rangers, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, NY Islanders, New Jersey, Chicago, St Louis

        Southern / Norris: Washington, Carolina, Tampa Bay, Florida, Columbus, Nashville, Dallas

        Teams play teams out of their Conference twice, the rest of the games are made up in each Conference. An example of the Red Wings schedule would be 64-66 games in the Eastern time zone, 8-10 games in the Central time zone, 4 in each of the Mountain and Pacific time zones. This would be almost identical for all Eastern time zone teams and shows that these teams don’t have to be in an ‘Eastern’ Conference for less travel. I would think that Chicago and St Louis are both closer than the Lightning and Panthers who are in the same time zone and who the Red Wings will have in their division in the new NHL plan? In the playoffs, the first two rounds are in Conference to determine the four Conference Champions. These are then seeded so any of the Eastern or Central time zones may have to play a Semi Final against a Western team meaning the Red Wings for example would not be expected to to be the team to travel further.

        Looking at my plan in response to some of the points you made, Colorado would be better off in this plan while the Wild and Stars would also be better off than they currently are. The Jets would be better off than they are now and would have three Canadian opponents. No main, geographical or historical rivalries like the Red Wings vs Blackhawks or Blues are lost. The Lightning and Panthers don’t have to travel to the north of the US or to Canada for all their divisional road games. Also, if relocation or expansion happens then this plan is more flexible and could be adapted without further major realignment (Phoenix could move to Seattle or Quebec for example without any other team needing to move).

        Finally, this plan would have given more chance of a wider variety of Stanley Cup Finals. The Bruins v Rangers, the Blackhawks v Canucks, the Penguins v Capitals could all be possible whereas they are not currently or under the new plan.

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