Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

NHL Realignment a Step Closer; under Proposal, Blues' Division Wouldn't Include Longtime Rival Detroit

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

NHL Realignment a Step Closer; under Proposal, Blues' Division Wouldn't Include Longtime Rival Detroit

Article excerpt

PHOENIX Hello Colorado, Dallas, Minnesota and Winnipeg. Good- bye Detroit and Columbus.

The NHLs realignment plan took a step toward becoming official on Thursday, when the players union gave its consent to the league.

The NHL is expected to present the plan to its Board of Governors within a week and if ratified, the Western and Eastern conferences will be shuffled beginning in the 2013-14 season.

We will update the status of the process as future developments warrant, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement.

Under the proposed plan, the Western and Eastern conferences will remain but would house two divisions within each.

The Blues division would feature Chicago, Nashville, Colorado, Dallas, Minnesota and Winnipeg. The team would lose longtime rival Detroit and also Columbus, which are headed to the East.

The Blues still would face the Red Wings twice a season, as clubs would play a home-and-home series against every team in the league. But thats down from the current six meetings a season, and eight just a couple of years ago.

It gives a different look, Blues defenseman Barret Jackman said. Unfortunately, you lose a big rival in Detroit. Its going to be a tough one for the fans of both teams, but were going to get some other rivalries going with the new teams in the division.

The realignment plan creates an uneven number of teams in each conference. While each now has 15 clubs, the trading of teams will put 14 in the West and 16 in the East. As they are formatted now, the playoffs will consist of 16 teams, with eight from each conference. But what could be new next season is a wild-card system in which the top three teams in each division make the playoffs, with the remaining two spots in each conference going to the remaining teams with the most points.

The plan has one specific concern, regarding the fairness of eight of 14 teams qualifying for the postseason in the West and eight of 16 in the East.

They obviously looked at it and geographically you have to do something so teams arent hindered by travel, Jackman said. …

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