The Malik Report
by George Malik on 04/24/11 at 08:15 AM ET
File this one under, “And this is another reason why the Red Wings, the Western Conference’s anchor tenant, will never be moved to the Eastern Conference, even though Jimmy Devellano voted to lock out the players very specifically because he stated that the NHL insisted to both Mike Ilitch and Devellano himself that the Wings would be first up for any sort of move to the Eastern Conference should the NHL consider realignment or expansion.”
The Columbus Dispatch’s Michael Arace reports that one of the two teams that could beat the Wings to the East plans on bringing up the issue with the NHL, and those teams, the Columbus Blue Jackets and Nashville Predators, have apparently been told that Jimmy D’s assertion is bunk and/or another empty lockout promise meant to go unfulfilled:
“We have an annual review with the league, and that’s where it came up,” [Columbus Blue Jackets president Mike] Priest said. “I asked the question: What would the procedure be in the event that a team from the West needs to move to the East?”
It’s all hypothetical at this point, Priest noted. Nothing will happen for at least a couple of seasons, if it ever happens. Two hurdles are in the way. First, a club from the East (Atlanta? Florida?) would need to relocate to a city in the West. The likely move of Phoenix back to Winnipeg does not help the Blue Jackets, nor would an Eastern club relocating to Quebec City. Second, the Blue Jackets would need to curry favor with the NHL’s Board of Governors, which would have to approve any team’s move across conferences. That might be a bigger hurdle.
Since the Blue Jackets joined the NHL, it has been whispered that the first club to move to the East would be Detroit, that the Red Wings’ desire to leave the Western Conference predates the Blue Jackets’ existence. No such agreement exists, a league source told The Dispatch this week. Priest said he’s been told as much, too.
“I have personally never been told that anybody has a leg up over anybody else,” Priest said. “If there’s a team that needs to move to the East, every team would be looked at before any decision is made.”
Continued, and one gets the feeling that the Blue Jackets’ proximity to Buffalo and Pittsburgh, as well as the Predators’ geographic ties to the Southeast Division would trump Detroit’s status as “first in line.”
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.