CBC's "Hot Stove" segment on realignment from Saturday night.
By Mike Harrington
I watched the Red Wings-Canucks game Sunday night with a different eye, knowing that it's very possible Joe Louis Arena will be a regular stop for the Sabres come next season.
That was the word late Saturday night from CBC's Elliotte Friedman, who broke on Hockey Night in Canada that the NHL and NHLPA are well on their way to agreeing on a realignment proposal similar to one the players voted down last season but with some key differences.
It will still be a four-conference arrangement but the difference this time is the two Eastern conferences will have eight teams each while the two Western ones will have seven (last year's proposal had it reversed). It will look like this:
Conference A: Buffalo, Boston, Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Detroit, Tampa Bay, Florida
Conference B: Carolina, Columbus, New Jersey, Islanders, Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington
Conference C: Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis, Winnipeg
Conference D: Anaheim, Calgary, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver
Seems a lot better for travel for teams like Detroit, Columbus, Minnesota and Colorado. (Read this Detroit Free Press story). Helps rivalries like the Original Six flourish again in Conference A. But there's talk of some sort of extra wild-cards for Conferences A & B, since they have one more team.
Seeing the Red Wings more than once every two or three years in Buffalo would be good for the entertainment value. I love watching them play. But it would add to the Sabres' woes of qualifying for the playoffs. Last year's two games, remember, resulted in a composite 9-1 thumping. And with the Sabres teetering on last place overall in the NHL, a perennial power coming into the division would be another huge hurdle.
taggedDetroit Red Wings