The NHL Board of Governors will meet in Pebble Beach next week to discuss realigning the NHL to better serve the long hours of travel teams must face. Since the Atlanta Thrashers folded giving birth to the second resurrection of the Winnipeg Jets, the League has been bouncing around a few scenarios they hope to decide upon while taking in a few rounds of golf. Is this really that big of an issue? It is for the Detroit Red Wings and the Columbus Blue Jackets.
There has been some grumbling from the Nashville Predators who would like a piece of something in all this meandering, and then there is the Dallas Stars who for some reason think they should be the helm of a new division.
But it gets better like a hint of juicy gossip that really isn’t that great as much as the anticipation. Supposedly, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman promised the Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Illitch that the Red Wings would join the Eastern Conference among the modern-day dynasties like the Boston Bruins, the Montreal Canadiens, the New York Rangers, and even the New York Islanders. Detroit would fit right in.
Football and hockey are united in the Michigan/Ohio battle. As anyone raised in Michigan knows, at some point Ohio sticks its nose into Michigan’s business, just as the Columbus Blue Jackets are making a case for their own Eastern Conference bid. Worried Red Wings fans? Teams like the Rangers and Bruins would prefer the ailing Jackets because they are easy prey. Detroit is serious competition.
The complicated plan of realignment represent this type of promising and not delivering; the easy plan swaps the Wings for the Jets. Steve Yzerman would than face his former team and who wouldn’t want to see that in Hockeytown?
Then there are the Western Conference teams who don’t want to see the Red Wings leave due to revenue stream. Hey, how about pumping up the Vancouver Canucks or the Colorado Avalanche for some money-making ventures. The Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks feed the celebrity machine which should be raising some type of cash flow or call on the Edmonton Oilers with their dynamic duo of Hall and Nugent-Hopkins.
Both Conferences see Detroit as the excellence in the League like fighting over the driving a hot car: it would be cool to drive, but the dangers of that much power could get you pulled over.