Photo Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images North America
Tonight, the Dallas Stars faced off against the Nashville Predators and as always, it proved to be a physical, chippy, and exciting game. Well, Stars fans might need to get used to this near-rivalry match-up with the new proposed NHL realignment. The Stars will also benefit from a less tedious travel schedule due to fewer trips out west (and fewer 9:30 PM TV starts). Here's what the proposed alignment looks like:
Conference 1: Devils, Flyers, Penguins, Rangers, Islanders, Capitals, Hurricanes, Blue Jackets
Conference 2: Bruins, Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Senators, Sabres, Panthers, Lightning, Red Wings
Conference 3: Avalanche, Predators, Blues, Blackhawks, Wild, Stars, Jets
Conference 4: Kings, Ducks, Coyotes, Sharks, Canucks, Flames, Oilers
The Stars win big in this, as do several other teams including Winnipeg and Detroit. This plan sends the Red Wings and Blue Jackets out east which eases their travel schedules (and Detroit can rekindle some ancient rivalries). Winnipeg's adjustment was an imminent one even without significant realignment since they are currently maintaining Atlanta's spot in the Southeast division.
Teams would play everyone in their mini-conference 5 or 6 times (roughly half the season) and the rest of the games would be dispersed amongst the other conferences. Details should become clearer in the coming weeks.
With regards to television, this means big things. Local ratings should improve, especially in markets like Dallas, while the big network (NBC, at this point) would be able to show more double headers with ease. This also evens out the playing field for teams' travel schedules--notice Northeastern teams do have to travel south with the new structure.
The Stars will see its old friend, Colorado, quite a bit and maintain several intense matchups, a notable one being Nashville. The Predators-Stars rough goings began back in 2007 when an altercation between former Predator Jordin Tootoo and Dallas' Stephane Robidas resulted in Tootoo injuring Robidas with a blind side punch. That game ended up escalating as many Stars' players came to Robidas' defense. Ever since, it has always been an entertaining matchup when these two teams get together. Look to these two teams to forge a new rivalry pending realignment confirmation. If you need a refresher, I have attached a clip below.
Keep it tuned here for realignment updates.