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Hockey Night in Canada Report: NHL's 4-Division Realignment Gaining Steam

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 25:  James Wisniewski #21 of the Columbus Blue Jackets battles for position with Tomas Holmstrom #96 of the Detroit Red Wings during their game at Nationwide Arena on October 25, 2011 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
John Grieshop/Getty Images
Jordan MatthewsAnalyst IIIOctober 30, 2011

Last night on Hockey Night in Canada, a report surfaced that a realignment plan that had been previously dismissed is now gaining a lot of traction amongst the NHL owners.

A video of the report can be seen here.

Completely realigned, the divisions would look like this:

Division One: Philadelphia, Washington, Carolina, Tampa Bay, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, New Jersey and Florida.

Division Two: Detroit or Columbus, Toronto, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Montreal, Boston and Ottawa.

Division Three: Detroit or Columbus, Chicago, Nashville, Winnipeg, Minnesota, St. Louis and Dallas.

Division Four: Vancouver, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Anaheim, San Jose, Calgary, Edmonton and Colorado.

It was noted during the discussion last night that the popular belief is that the Detroit Red Wings will end up in the third division with the Blackhawks.

Another thing that was also noted was that teams would play a home-and-home versus every team outside their division, and the rest of their games would be played within their own division.

About a month ago, I wrote an article with a realignment plan that nearly mirrors this one. The plans only contain a few minor changes, biggest of all being that the NHL's plan doesn't have Pittsburgh in the same division as Washington and Philadelphia.

I like the plan of having a home-and-home against every out of division team; however, I believe that extra games should be given for rivalries like Detroit vs. Toronto or Chicago vs. Vancouver.

One discussion that was never mentioned was how playoff seeding will work. I am under the opinion that the best plan would be to seed the teams No. 1 through 16 in the playoffs, allowing for different matchups.

In order to pass, this division realignment must be voted in by 20 of the NHL's 30 owners. Realistically, that may be tough to pass, but with an even amount of travel for every team and most division rivalries kept intact, it is very possible for the vote to pass.

Jordan Matthews is a fan of the NHL and the Detroit Red Wings. For more hockey coverage you can follow him on Twitter.

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