The NHL continues to push for realignment that would place the Wild in a geographically tighter division with such regional rivals as the Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues, a plan that would be implemented next season.
A similar proposal passed by the NHL board of directors in December 2011 was shot down by the NHL Players Association, but that impasse could be resolved soon, according to Wild owner Craig Leipold.
"I'm under the belief that we are very, very close to getting it settled for next year," Leipold said Thursday, Feb. 14.
Leipold is a major proponent of a measure that would install Minnesota into a division not dissimilar to the NHL's old Norris Division, one that should foster rivalries, improve TV audience numbers and cut travel expenses.
"Clearly what I believe is in the best interest of the National Hockey League is to realign the teams more by time zone and geography," Leipold said. "It's better for our fans; it's better for our players; it's better for the environment because we have less travel in an airplane. It's just a win-win-win. I'm disappointed we didn't do it for this season."
Don Fehr, executive director of the players association, told the New York Post last week that the union's objections a year ago were based on the prospect of increased travel for some teams, plus the inequity of proposed playoff qualification.
Wild continue push for NHL realignment: 'We're very, very close.'
St. Paul Pioneer Press | Feb 16