October 11, 2011
Bob McKenzie of TSN stuck his finger in the wind on NHL realignment, and has discovered the NHL may give the finger to a number of teams not named the Detroit Red Wings.
More and more NHL governors convinced Detroit will be moving to Southeast Division in Eastern Conference when realignment done in early December. If Detroit goes to SE (East), it's plausible and possible Winnipeg could take Detroit's place in Central Division (West).
Realignment would be done. Nothing firm yet on realignment, but Detroit has been good soldier in West for long time. Winnipeg would be fine with Central as opposed to NW. If that happened, Dallas would be most unhappy. Stars want in Central Division.
The technical term for this is "the easy way out."
What happened to the bold overhaul of the NHL's conference format?
What happened to putting the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Eastern Conference where they belong, or the Nashville Predators closer to their SEC rivals in the Southeast? What happened to a Smythe Division reunion with the Jets, Flames and Oilers?
WTF WITH DETROIT IN THE SOUTHEAST?
No one's saying Detroit shouldn't be in the Eastern Conference. (OK, all the Western Conference teams that appreciate their road sellouts are, as are the NHL's television partners might when the Red Wings are no longer carrying the ratings load in all-West battles.)
But this is an opportunity to go one step further and really help some teams that are getting just as screwed by time zones and travel as the Wings.
A chance to move a Central Time Zone team in Texas, the Dallas Stars, out of the Pacific. (How hard is it: Dallas to Central, Winnipeg to NW, Colorado to Pacific. Look, dominoes!)
A chance to move the Nashville Predators to a proper fit in the Southeast. Or a chance to save the Blue Jackets' franchise by giving their fans more games that start at dinner time than at bed time. Hell, a chance to do something [expletive] crazy like John Shannon's three-division format; at least the geography's about right.
Righting these wrongs is complicated. It takes time. It takes foresight about the future of teams in Phoenix and Quebec City, the future of NHL expansion. It takes stepping on some toes to find fairness for others.
Detroit to the Southeast, Winnipeg to the Central, and "let's call it a day" would be a missed opportunity, teetering on the brink of disgrace.
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