Blog Entry

Winnipeg aftermath: Who will move in realignment?

Posted on: May 31, 2011 12:18 pm
Edited on: June 1, 2011 6:16 am

The easy part of the relocation is done (well, not easy for Atlanta, but you get the point). Now it's time to figure out what happens next, specifically the relocation issue.

As of now, all indications point to the Winnipeg Jets (that's what we'll use until we know the nickname for sure) staying in the Southeast Division for one season. It's too late in the process of getting next season's schedule laid out to realign the divisions. The Jets will be doing some serious flying.

But that's all short-term. Of course the Jets aren't going to stay in the Southeast permanently. It seems natural to put Winnipeg in the same division as the other Western Canadian teams -- Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. To do that, there will be some collateral damage.

It starts with booting a team from the Northwest, the most likely candidate being Colorado. The Avalanche get booted to the Pacific Division, sending the Stars into the Central. Alternatively, Minnesota could head to the Central, but it doesn't seem to be quite the geographic fit that would result from Colorado moving. Either way, a new team is entering the Central Division and that brings up the biggest question of all: Who moves East?

More on relocation

It's no secret Detroit wants to be in the Eastern Conference. The organization and its fans -- who have a Facebook page dedicated to changing conferences -- have been very vocal about their desire to switch conferences, citing less travel, less road games in the later time zones (Detroit is one of two teams in the West sitting in the Eastern time zone), and renewing rivalries with Original Six foes Toronto, Montreal, Boston and the Rangers.

“Fingers crossed, toes crossed, saying prayers,” Red Wings senior vice president Jimmy Devellano said about a possible move.

"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," GM Ken Holland said on Monday.

The Red Wings have long held the belief they had a promise from the NHL that they would be the next team to go East. Oh, if it were only that simple.

Yes, it makes sense to move the Wings to the East. But it also makes sense to move Columbus. Same goes for Nashville.

The problem for Detroit is it might be too valuable to move. Nobody in the Western Conference would want to see the Wings fly away -- well, maybe from a competitive standpoint -- because of the draw they are at the gate. They have as big of a fan base as you'll find in the States. Bottom line: it's guaranteed to be a big crowd on the road. The foes in the West don't exactly want to see that disappear.

Plus we have a little imbalance issue by swapping Atlanta for Detroit. You are sending a team that has made the playoffs once in its history to the West for a team that has made the postseason 20 consecutive seasons. You could make the argument that the conferences need a little balancing anyways, that the West has been the better half top to bottom for a few years, but that's a significant upheaval.

But let's have some fun here. Let's imagine a Detroit move to the East happens. You likely aren't going to send them to the Southeast, so some shuffling will be needed. Most likely scenario would be putting the Wings in the Northeast with Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Buffalo, dropping Boston into the Atlanta spot and moving either Pittsburgh or Philadelphia to the Southeast. Surely you see the downsides in that. Bruins-Habs in separate divisions? Breaking up the Keystone State rivals? Really, there's no way that makes much sense to put the Wings in the East while keeping important battles going without just dropping them in the Southeast -- which, again, makes little sense.

So it might still happen, but I'm thinking sorry Detroit, you're stuck where you are.

Geographically speaking, the simplest solution seems to be putting the Predators in the Southeast to fill Atlanta's spot. Everybody else in the East stays the same. But, despite its location being so far East, Nashville doesn't sit in the Eastern Time zone. Columbus does. And the Blue Jackets would prove a pretty comparable swap franchise-wise with the Thrashers.

In the end, while Detroit can hope and pray, Columbus and Nashville will be the odds-on favorite to swap conferences, with my thinking it will lean toward Columbus. But Detroit has a whole season to politick.

-- Brian Stubits

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 16, 2011 12:40 pm
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Since: Dec 17, 2010
Posted on: June 8, 2011 1:24 am

Winnipeg aftermath: Who will move in realignment?

I'd move the Jets to the Northwest and Colorado to the Pacific. Move Dallas from the Pacific to the Central, and then the battle will begin between Detroit, Columbus and Nashville to determine who goes to the East.  I will assume Nashville will win and join the the Southeast since it makes the most geographical sense.

Since: May 17, 2011
Posted on: June 2, 2011 11:50 am

Winnipeg aftermath: Who will move in realignment?


You make a number of good points with regard to the Detroit issue, which is why I fully believe that Detroit will come East unless Quebec gets a team in the near future. Which is again why I believe the league is waiting a year to realign once the Phoenix and possible Florida situations get resolved. And its not that I think Quebec would take priority over Detroit, is that I don't think it makes much sense to put a Quebec team (which has a strong possibility of existing) in the West when there are maybe a half dozen teams, Detroit included, further west of Quebec that would stay in the East. This whole looming Quebec issue is best resolved with expansion, check out a previous post of mine from yesterday.

Since: May 31, 2011
Posted on: June 2, 2011 9:53 am

Winnipeg aftermath: Who will move in realignment?

I do not think Stubits or many of the commenters have a good understanding of the history of this issue.  The League is divided on a East - West basis but its make up is biased to the East.  There are more teams wanting to be in the Eastern conference than they can accommodate.  For the realignment in '93 the Red Wings (via owner Mike Ilitch) agreed to the League's request they accept being assigned to the Western confernece with the understanding that as the league continued to expand in the West there would arise opportunites for the Wings to move back to the Eastern Conference.  The move of the Thrashers to Winnipeg is exactly what the Wings franchise has been waiting on! 

To suggest a new franchise in Ontario or Quebec will get priority over the Wings in filling the Thrasher's spot in the East is crazy.  To suggest a newbie franchise like Columbus or a franchise from outside the Eastern Time Zone (Nashville) will get the spot over the Wings is flawed thinking.

I expect the League will blow up the artifical divisions and go with strictly 15 team conferences where every franchise plays every other one in its confernce twice at home and twice on the road during the regular season.  The rest of the schedule will be comprised of an unbalanced East vs West games unless they expand to 86 games to accommodate a balanced home and home East -West.

Since: May 17, 2011
Posted on: June 2, 2011 8:53 am

Winnipeg aftermath: Who will move in realignment?


I do understand rivalries and I never knew Colorado had a rivalry with any of the the Pacific teams, I always thought any rivalries they had were with the central? And with respect to Vancouver, it is my understanding that they basically sit on a bubble and are culturally more of a west coast city and identify more with the Pacific teams then they do with their Canadian brethren, hell their Country is barely behind them. Maybe you don't understand that Detroit's natural rivals are Toronto, Montreal, and Boston; not Chicago and the rest of the Central, besides the fact that they have seniority over any other Western team that wants to go East. So Detroit will come East if they want to and the Northeast and Atlantic will have to accommodate them. Besides its not like Boston doesn't have rivalries in the Atlantic, maybe not as storied as the Montreal/Boston rivalry but a rivalry nonetheless. Its all probably moot anyway because Detroit or Columbus don't have a prayer unless the NHL expands to West/Northwest after Phoenix or Florida move to Quebec City.    

Since: Mar 26, 2011
Posted on: June 1, 2011 11:53 pm

Winnipeg aftermath: Who will move in realignment?

Does anybody know the procedure for re-alignment? Is there an ownership/BoG vote? What pct? If there is, there is no way DET is moving b/c all of the WC teams except Canada will vote against anything costing them two home games with the Wings. DET travels better than any other club in the league. We might see a re-balancing of schedules though to make it more NBA-ish. 82 games: H&H against each team in the other conference (30 games), 6 games against each team in the division (24 games). That leaves 28 games against 10 teams. 8 x 3 = 24, 2 x 2 = 4. The two would be 1 v 5, 2 v 4, 3 v 3. While clubs outside of the Central lose a home game against DET every other year, they do pickup a guaranteed home game each year against the other clubs in the East.

Since: Feb 5, 2007
Posted on: June 1, 2011 7:36 pm

Winnipeg aftermath: Who will move in realignment?

wjfinn3rd wrote:

Why does Colorado, a Mountain Time Zone team go to the Pacific when Vancouver sits on the Pacific coast? Also why does Nashville a CST team that doesn't want to move get moved to the EST when there are two teams playing in the Central, Detroit and Columbus, that want to move to their proper time zone?
Well you obviously don't know anything about rivalries. Vancouver will not be split from the other canadian teams. And Colorado should go to the pacific while Dallas moves to the Central where they should belong. Winnipeg would join the other canadian teams and Minny.

As for Nashville well I think they are the ONLY choice. Detroit can't really move since the atlantic and northeast won't be changed. And Columbus while in the eastern timezone won't work. They are a northern team named the blue jackets no less being put into a division full of southern teams. Nashville is georgrafically closer and is part of the south. Sure it is a timezone away but that is nothing really.

Since: Nov 14, 2006
Posted on: June 1, 2011 5:23 pm

Winnipeg aftermath: Who will move in realignment?

Since when is a teams time zone so crucial to their division placement?  It's never been a big deal in any other sports

It is a big deal in other's big due to TV contracts and maximum viewership. Look at baseball, they moved start times of playoff games to almost 8:30 so the west coast teams can start a bit later and maximize viewership.

I would agree that if there is no other choices than the closet time zone as possible. But in these cases we have teams like Detriot that have complained about the time zone based on the division they play in. So why ignore that fact?

You stated that rivalries = $$$ and it does but not as much as viewership..if you have a handfull of teams that are considered rivials, and I think I am being liberal with that comment, it onl accounts for a small portion of the home games played when compared to the whole season.

I am not sure how the realignment will work.

Since: Jun 1, 2011
Posted on: June 1, 2011 4:52 pm

Winnipeg aftermath: Who will move in realignment?

Well Yes I will admit I am usually wrong about 99% of the things I post on here, and never having watched the team much this year, I admittedly don't really have a great basis for my opinion. I guess when I look deeper at the numbers mss you are right about the Blackhawks. I also admit some jealously too of not being able to live in Chicago while the Blackhawks were actually a good team, and not a bad one.

Since: Jun 1, 2011
Posted on: June 1, 2011 4:43 pm

Winnipeg aftermath: Who will move in realignment?

"I think one thing that became obvious during the playoffs is when healthy the Blackhawks are still one of the best, if not the best team in the NHL. Injuries hurt this team during the regular season. I looked and they only played 11 games all year at full strength. So far they have played the supposed best team in the league the toughest during these playoffs, and were one goal away from eliminating them. After Dave Bolland returned for game 4, the Hawks were at full strength and won 3 of 4 from Vancouver. Canuck fans should be counting their blessings they got to face the Hawks at half strength the first 3 games of the series because if the Hawks were totally healthy from the start they would've taken the Canucks out in 6 games."

Lived in Chicagoland for six years. Loved it. Great people. Love their optimism. But this borders on delusional.

Well if you don't believe that, We are happy you don;t live in Chicagoland anymore. One less idiot to deal with. Go play on the freeway in traffic now.

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