The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/31/11 at 12:39 AM ET
With the Atlanta Thrashers poised to move to Winnipeg, the Free Press’s Helene St. James checked in with Red Wings GM Ken Holland regarding the team possibly moving to the Eastern Conference for the 2012-2013 season, but no news is no news:
“We’ve been told nothing,” Holland said. “I don’t have any information. I know what I read in the newspaper.”
The Wings would welcome a move to the East, which would greatly reduce the wear and tear of travel and re-ignite dormant rivalries with Original Six foes such as Toronto, Montreal, Boston and the Rangers, teams the Wings see at most twice a season. The only other Original Six team in the West is Chicago.
“I’ve gone on record saying we’d prefer to be in the East, but I haven’t heard anything and I’m just worrying about putting together our team for next season,” Holland said.
Should the Thrashers move to Winnipeg, they would, for the coming season, most likely remain in the Southeast Division because the logistics of creating an entirely new NHL schedule grid this late are prohibitive. Although the schedule won’t be released until late June to early July, it has been more or less set for months.
As we already know by now, there is no pecking order in terms of whether the Red Wings, Columbus Blue Jackets or Nashville Predators have an edge in their desires to move East, and as it turns out, it’s the Blue Jackets who want to move East most desperately.
ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun revealed that major realignment talk could be on the table between now and the Board of Governors’ meetings a year from now, and the Canadian Press’s Chris Johnston stated that teams will have quite a bit of time to lobby their fellows—teams have to submit bids to swap conferences by January 1st of 2012, and a majority of the Board’s 30 members have to approve said applications (read: there’s no way in hell that the Red Wings can get 14 other Western Conference teams and more than a few Eastern Conference teams’ owners to sign on), usually during their meetings at or before the NHL Entry Draft.
Long story short, it’s just not going to happen for the Wings because they sell out opponents’ buildings, guaranteeing packed rinks and more than one Original Six team to “anchor” the West with a marquee moneymaker. The NHL would have to add at least one or two teams (not headed to Winnipeg) to the West, via expansion or possible relocation, for the Wings to receive serious consideration in terms of moving East. Maybe in 10 years, if there are teams in Las Vegas, Seattle and/or Kansas City, we could see the Wings move East, but it won’t happen before then.
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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.