Over the weekend, a report by Hockey Night in Canada's Elliotte Friedman revealed what seems to be the NHL's new realignment plan which would be instated for next season. The NHL had approved a similar realignment plan back in the fall of 2011 only to have it blocked by the NHLPA -- likely as the first grab for power leading up to the lockout -- and now comes forward with a slightly different idea that seems to be much better than what was originally agreed upon.
Much of the focus on realignment has been on the Winnipeg Jets, Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets and their placement in the wrong conference. The proposed alignment the NHL suggested back in 2011 now seems to be incredibly illogical; only the Jets actually switched "conferences," while the Red Wings and Blue Jackets were still stuck in the wrong time zone while being assured of an easier travel schedule.
Under the new plan, the eight-team "conferences" move to the East along with Detroit and Columbus, in what is now an actual logical alignment based upon geography and time zones. Detroit and Columbus are split between the two new conferences out East, while Winnipeg joins what now becomes the new "central" conference.
Tampa Bay and Florida, reportedly the biggest opponents of the old plan, will still likely raise a bit of a fuss. The two teams are separated from the rest of their conference by nearly the entire East Coast, giving them what will likely be the worst travel for any teams in the East as they leapfrog another conference to play on the road against their own conference rivals.
NHL realignment: New plan a win for nearly everybody
SB Nation | Feb 25