Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 02/27/13 at 03:39 PM ET
from Brian Cazeneuve of Sports Illustrated,
So the Red Wings are a definite winner in the newest proposal that moves them to the East. They will lose the Hawks as a frequent foe, but they'll be in the same division (the new Central) with three other Original Six teams (Maple Leafs, Bruins and Canadiens) and conference with another (Rangers). In addition, they will make shorter trips to play Acela teams such as the Capitals, Flyers and Devils.
The Jets also win. Their nickname has been entirely appropriate because they have been using about a division's worth of jet fuel all by themselves, but It is high time for Winnipeg to stop keeping a schedule with Florida and Tampa Bay as virtual neighbors. After the former Thrashers moved from Atlanta following the 2010-11 season, there wasn't enough time to fit them into the Western Conference schedule for 2011-12. Then the newly-christened Jets were caught in the middle of the NHLPA's balk at the owners' first realignment plan. Now they are waiting through this year's shortened season, but their proposed home in a new Midwest Division that includes Minnesota, Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Nashville and St. Louis will mean a kinder, gentler travel schedule.
The Blue Jackets were another team destined to stay in the West under the 2011 plan. Thanks to their proximity to Detroit (200 miles), they've had a rivalry with the Red Wings, and Blackhawks fans have been known to travel from Chicago to Columbus for games. A move to the proposed Atlantic Division (with the Hurricanes, Devils, Islanders, Rangers, Flyers, Capitals, Penguins) should kindle a rivalry with Pittsburgh (167 miles away), drawing Penguins fans and also allowing the Jackets to be seen more frequently in the East's largest markets.
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