If this blog is late being posted, it’s because I’m on the phone with my boss lobbying for a snow day.
Well if I’m breaking the news to you, I’m both honored and concerned – the NHL league structure will have a completely different look sometime in the near future. The board of governors approved a realignment that will put the 30 NHL teams into four different conferences – two with eight teams, and two with seven. The Red Wings will now be in a conference with Chicago, Columbus, Nashville, St. Louis, Minnesota, Dallas and Winnipeg. Bill Roose of the Red Wings’ official site reports that the conferences will be named the Pacific, Central (Detroit’s conference), Northeast, and Atlantic.
The other news coming out of the realignment approval is that every team will have a home-and-home series with the 29 other NHL clubs. Also, the first two rounds of the playoffs will be within conferences.
I like the change. All of this means a reduced amount of travel – especially for the Red Wings. While they still remain in the ‘Central’, their amount of games on the west coast have been drastically reduced, and a higher majority of games will be played in Eastern Time Zone-friendly locations.
That reduced amount of travel could benefit the Wings come playoff time, as well. Once the realignment takes place, the farthest the Wings could have to travel in the first two rounds is Dallas and/or Winnipeg. Better odds would be that they would face teams like Chicago or Nashville. And that, my friends, is far better than taking on two west coast teams to start a grueling playoff campaign.
It’s also great for the league that all the teams will play each other once again. The Red Wings will once again be in every building in the NHL once. Plus, Michigan hockey fans will have the opportunity to see any and every single player in the NHL every year. That’s the way it should be.
Have you seen ‘Spartan Hockey: All-Access’ yet? It’s a behind-the-scenes look at the MSU hockey team and how new coach Tom Anastos is turning around the program. I can’t embed it in here, but it’s worth the click, in my opinion. Watch it here.
Outside the Mitten
Once again, Tim Thomas wins the daily edition of Michi-gamer. The Davison native and Bruins goaltender is making an early case to be Michi-gamer of the year after winning twice in the last five days. He had 45 saves last night against Pittsburgh in a 3-1 win.
Check it out
ESPN.com’s Scott Burnside discusses the realignment shift in the NHL.
We’ll keep an eye out for any more news on the NHL changes, and as usual, anything and everything else that has to do with hockey. Have a great day, don’t forget to clean your car windows off.