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Lightning aren’t thrilled with NHL’s proposed realignment plan

The Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning are among the biggest "losers" of the NHL's realignment proposal as the Florida teams may end up stranded in what is essentially a "Northeast Division"--perhaps because the Atlantic and/or Southeast Divisions' owners have been among Gary Bettman's biggest supporters over the past two lockouts--and the Tampa Bay Times' Damian Cristodero spelled out the reasons why Steve Yzerman's team might not be thrilled with the proposal given the price they pay in exchange for sold-out buildings full of Original Six teams' fans:

[T]the Lightning would be weary travelers during the season. Except for Florida, its shortest trip would be 984 miles to Detroit. And don't discount the hassles of crossing into and out of Canada and dealing with border control.

Compare that to the proposed Atlantic Division of the Islanders, Rangers, Devils, Flyers, Penguins, Capitals, Hurricanes and Blue Jackets. Raleigh, N.C., to Columbus, Ohio? 362 miles. Uniondale, N.Y., where the Islanders play, to Manhattan to face the Rangers? 30 miles.

In other words, that division would have easy postgame travel — even by car, in some cases — more time at home and need fewer days of rest. That would mean more days available for practice, the lack of which coach Guy Boucher has bemoaned this season.

"The travel, crossing the boarder and flying (past) Carolina and Washington to play teams in our division, those are things we don't like about it for our organization," Yzerman said.

The league has said it would try to mitigate Tampa Bay's travel as much as possible. But we also know the Lightning last year voted against a similar realignment proposal because of travel hardships.

Continued with some obvious Red Wings-Bolts talk...

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink



these asses are complaining about travel in one time zone? what would they have done if they were the jets this year?

Posted by teldar on 03/03/13 at 10:04 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Currently, the shortest distance between Dallas and the next closest Pacific Division team is 1,064 miles; the rest of that division sits two time zones away.

That’s neither here nor there though, shitty travel setups are what they are and Dallas currently having it much worse than Tampa will if this is done doesn’t really make that any better for the Bolts.

Who do they bump out of the other Eastern division to move the Florida teams in? 

Columbus is inherently movable, but the Columbus/Pittsburgh connection is perhaps better hockey-wise than Columbus/Detroit is… you can’t move Pittsburgh without moving Philly and you can’t move both of them in a package because let’s face it, that kind of leaves the Atlantic division fairly boring while the Central is a murderer’s row.

You could split up the three New York area teams, I guess, but the Devils and Islanders may need the Rangers as much as the Rangers benefit from having that local hate. You can’t move the Rangers mostly because you just can’t put 5 of the Original 6 in one division.

Realignment should help move things around when it happens

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/03/13 at 10:35 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Realignment should help move things around when it happens

That should say “Relocation”

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/03/13 at 10:36 AM ET

phillyd's avatar

Currently, the shortest distance between Dallas and the next closest Pacific Division team is 1,064 miles; the rest of that division sits two time zones away.

That’s why, while I’ve been touting Jets -> NW, Minny -> Central, Nash -> SE, I’m starting to lean more to this:

Dal -> SE
Col -> Pacificl
Win -> NW

That would leave Minny out as an oddball but having Winnipeg there would be ok, Ithink. I still think they shouldn’t do anything until Phoenix gets settled, whether they are there, Seattle, KC, QC or wherever.

Posted by phillyd from Southern New Jersey on 03/03/13 at 11:12 AM ET

calquake's avatar

Someone is going to be unhappy no matter what is finally put in place.  Most teams are alright with realignment as long as it doesn’t affect them adversely.  Detroit was promised long ago to be switched back to the East.  Most, if not all, Detroit fans would like to be back in the Eastern Conference.  The Wings “took it in the shorts” for a long time.  It’s now time for another team to sacrifice for the good of the game.

Posted by calquake from a.k.a. Uniquake, workin' on my manifesto on 03/03/13 at 12:47 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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