The Detroit Red Wings will have new rivals in their future sights. Say goodbye to the Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche and San Jose Sharks. Say hello to the Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens.
The NHL has approved realignment and a few playoff format for the Stanley Cup playoffs beginning with the 2013-2014 season. Along with the Detroit Red Wings, the Colombus Blue Jackets will move to the Eastern Conference. On the other side, the Winnipeg Jets are moving to the Western Conference. The moved is designed to allow teams with similar time zones to play one another.
One of the best in the business is ESPN’s Barry Melrose (@NHLBarryMelrose) and he shared his thoughts on the NHL’s realignment.
Wings GM Ken Holland spoke about the news of realignment. One big aspect is that it will allow all 30 teams to play in all 30 arenas at least once per season, according to NHL.COM.
“One of the things that was really important to us was a matrix that had a home-and-home with every team in the other conference,” Holland said. “So, even though we’re heading East, we’re still thrilled that we’re going to play all the teams in the Western Conference home-and-home.”
Holland went on to say, “I think the whole package that’s put together with the relocation, the moves, the matrix, the playoff format — it’s an exciting time for the National Hockey League,” Holland said.
There is A LOT of intrigue to the move to the East other than more fortunate times for the puck to drop. There will be a lot of talk about the Original Six members. The new Eastern Conference will consist of 5 of the 6 members of the Original Six and the only member missing will be those Chicago Blackhawks. With the remarkable season that team is having thus far in 2013, we think they’ll be just fine.
Motor City fans can look forward to rebuilding rivalries with the Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs on an annual basis. If that’s not enough for you, there will be that little team in Pittsburgh to deal with as well. We can already hear the fans waiting to go after Sidney Crosby. Feel free to start making your signs now.
The new NHL playoff format in broken down into 2 conference with 4 divisions. The top 3 teams from each division are automatic bids for each conference. The remaining two spots on each side will be decided by overall best record. This could lead to some controversy down the road.
It’s been an exciting season thus far and the future looks bright for a league that was looking like it would never end a lockout. Detroit vs. Boston, Detroit vs. Toronto, Detroit vs. Montreal, Detroit vs. Pittsburgh. Those are the things we can begin to think about as Detroit prepares to move on up to the East Side.
No prob w/NHL realignment. Hope they’ve got room in Bruins division to add Quebec City.
— Kevin Paul Dupont (@GlobeKPD) February 27, 2013
Sidney Crosby a fan of NHL expansion bit.ly/XDo8sa
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) March 11, 2013
— Crain’s Detroit Biz (@crainsdetroit) March 11, 2013