The Red Wings are one step closer to geographic sanity in the NHL.

Bill Daly, the league's deputy commissioner, said in a statement Thursday that the Players Association has signed off on a proposed realignment.

"The NHL Players Association confirmed to us that it has consented to a revised Plan for Realignment, effective for the 2013-14 season," Daly said. "Our next step will be to bring the proposed Plan for Realignment to the NHL Board of Governors for its consideration. We will update the status of the process as future developments warrant."

That Board of Governors are expected to meet at some point next week.

Don Fehr, the NHL Players Association executive director, said in a statement: "After discussions with the Executive Board, the NHLPA has given consent to realignment, to be re-evaluated following the 2014-15 season."

The Red Wings and Blue Jackets are currently the lone Eastern time zone teams in the Western Conference. (Columbus is also moving into the East under the revamped realignment.)

"It's awesome," goaltender Jimmy Howard said of the Red Wings moving to the Eastern Conference. "These West Coast swings, they take a lot out of us, you guys, but also the fans who stay and watch us late at night.

"To play in the Eastern time zone will be very beneficial. We want to play in the East. Last year we were one of the teams that wanted to play in the East. Hopefully it'll go through."

The union rejected a proposed alignment last year in which the Red Wings were based in a Midwest Division with mostly Central time zone teams.



From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130307/SPORTS0103/303070475#ixzz2MxdzK8uQ