Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

NHL realignment issues still being sorted out

By the time the NHL owners finish meeting Monday in Pebble Beach, Calif., the league and its playoff structure might have a new look.

Related News/Archive

Realignment will be the main topic of discussion.

Whether there will be a radical makeover, a simple solution or a motion for more study remains to be seen, but the first realignment since 1998-99 is coming.

It might be that just two teams are shifted. But there also are discussions about forming two conferences with two divisions each. Currently, each conference has three divisions.

Realignment is an issue because the Atlanta franchise moved to Winnipeg and became the Jets. Winnipeg this season remained in the Southeast Division with the Lightning, but that is simply weird and cannot be sustained.

The easy solution would be to move Winnipeg to the Central Division in the Western Conference and shift either Nashville or Columbus to the Southeast. But Detroit, in the West, wants to come east, and there is speculation the Red Wings could end up in the Southeast.

"We don't want to lock ourselves into one solution and then find we can't get the support," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. "We want to be in the East. We would take anywhere in the East. But if we had to be in the West, we want to make sure we play everybody home and away."

The four-division solution — the latest speculation from the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.'s Hockey Night in Canada is Tampa Bay might be in one with the Maple Leafs, Senators, Canadiens, Bruins, Sabres and Panthers — is intriguing because it would include two rounds of playoffs within each division to determine the conference finalists. For a league desperate to cultivate rivalries, that is attractive.

The problem is that given franchise locations, two divisions might have eight teams and two seven. Assuming four teams from each division would make the playoffs, a higher percentage would advance from the smaller divisions.

Would that be fair? Would the Lightning and Panthers agree to a division that penalizes them with so much travel? Much needs to be discussed.

NHL realignment issues still being sorted out 12/03/11 [Last modified: Saturday, December 3, 2011 11:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa Bay Super Bowls: A brief history and some predictions for 2021


    At last, Tampa will host a Super Bowl again. It used to be that the Cigar City would host one a decade, but by the time February 2021 rolls around, it will have been 12 years since the epic showdown between the Steelers and Cardinals. Because it has been awhile, let's revisit those past Super Bowls while also peering …

    Santonio Holmes hauls in the game-winning touchdown in the Steelers' 27-23 Super Bowl XLIII victory over the Cardinals in 2009, the last time Tampa hosted a Super Bowl. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  2. Rays bats go silent in second straight loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Sure, Alex Cobb was to blame for the Rays' 4-0 loss on Tuesday.

    Derek Norris strikes out with the bases loaded as the Rays blow a golden opportunity in the seventh inning.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb made mistakes on back-to-back pitches to the first two Angels hitters Tuesday, allowing homers to Cameron Maybin and Mike Trout, but otherwise gave the Rays another solid outing, working into the eighth and scattering seven hits.

  4. Rays journal: Brad Miller won't return from DL when eligible

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — 2B Brad Miller (left abdominal strain) will not return from the 10-day disabled list Friday as he hoped. While he took ground balls Tuesday, he has yet to resume running.

    Rays second baseman Brad Miller, left, with infielder Tim Beckham, says he’s letting his left abdominal strain “cool down” before testing it by running.
  5. USF baseball rallies to beat Tulane in AAC tournament opener


    CLEARWATER — With Tulane runners on first and second and two out in the top of the ninth inning Tuesday, USF's dugout watched as burly American Athletic Conference co-player of the year Hunter Williams' fly to left went deep.

    USF outfielder Chris Chatfield is congratulated by third-base coach Chris Cates after hitting a three-run homer in the third inning, tying the score at 3.