The Malik Report
by George Malik on 12/06/11 at 12:39 AM ET
Updated at 11:56 PM with Wings brass reaction: You know how I grumbled about the whole, “Nothing’s going to change with regards to realignment” thing on Sunday. Yeah, time for crow. According to half a billion sources—and, most importantly, Gary Bettman and the NHL—the NHL’s Board of Governors have indeed approved radical realignment for the 2012-2013 season (assuming we have one), with the Red Wings joining an eight-team “conference” alongside the Jets, Blackhawks, Blues, Blue Jackets, Predators, Stars and Wild.
That means tons and tons of games against those seven teams, battling against those seven teams for four playoff spots as the West will consist of the larger eight-team conferences, and intra-divisional playoffs and then re-seeding of the “conference” champions for the Semifinals and Finals.
Thoughts? It immediately strikes me that every road game the Wings will play against a team other than Columbus will be in the Central time zone, and that while there’s nothing wrong with a home-and-home series against every other team in the league—especially the Maple Leafs, Rangers, Canadiens and Bruins—I’m gonna miss those four-game sloughs against the Ducks and Sharks, as well as two games in Phoenix where the rink is red instead of “brick.” That and I’m gonna have to get my hate on for the Jets, which won’t be easy…But I’m blathering here. I want to know what you think.
Update: By my math, for the Red Wings, this will mean 44 games against the other “conferences’” teams and 36 against one’s “conference” opponents, breaking down as 5 games against 6 of your intra-conference opponents and 6 games against 1. Then it’s two rounds of playoff against “conference” foes.
Update: Per DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose:
I’m told conference names will be Pacific, Central, Northeast, and Atlantic. #RedWings will be in the Central Conference. @DetroitRedWings
Also: Here’s what Ken Holland had to say to the Free Press’s Helene St. James...
“The Board voted for the four-conference format,” Holland said this evening. “When we talked internally in the organization six months ago, our thoughts were that we wanted to go to the Eastern Conference, but after seeing the presentation for this proposal, it was a good compromise.
“We get every team in the league once in our building, the first two rounds are within the conference, and we only have to go to California and Western Canada once a season. We think it’s a good situation for us.”
And here’s what he and Jimmy Devellano said to MLive’s Ansar Khan:
“We’re happy,’’ general manager Ken Holland said. “Our fans should be excited and happy about it.’‘
—The new format—the Red Wings are in an eight-team “conference’’ with Chicago, Columbus, St. Louis, Nashville, Minnesota, Dallas and Winnipeg—will reduce Detroit’s travel, in the regular season (the Red Wings will make only one trip per season to the West Coast and western Canada) and in the playoffs, as the first two rounds will be within the division.
—It results in more road games starting earlier.
—And the new scheduling matrix will see every team play other other club home and away each season.
“It’s a lot better than the situation we had,’’ Holland said.
Said Red Wings senior vice president Jimmy Devellano: “I’m so happy. It’s a dream come true for the Detroit Red Wings.’’ He added, “As far as us going East, that never was a big issue. Only that the schedule would have been better for us.’‘
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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.