A handful of NHL teams and their fans are bound to be displeased with the radical four-conference realignment passed by the league's Board of Governors on Monday night.
The Dallas Stars are not one of those teams.
No, the Stars are basically as happy as can be with the new league format, which has two eight-team conference and two seven-team conferences. In the new arrangement, the Stars are matched with teams in the central and eastern time zones only — the Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues and Winnipeg Jets.
The folks at ESPN Dallas caught up with new owner Tom Gaglardi for his reaction.
"I'm not sure we're not the biggest winner in the whole league," Gaglardi said in a phone interview early Tuesday morning. "I feel pretty wonderful. It's something I've chased ever since I started to chase ownership of the Stars. It's a great day for Dallas."
After the jump, more from the Stars on the new conferences, all the reaction from around the league you can handle and good news on the injury front.
- General manager Joe Nieuwendyk is also very pleased with the news, talking about the impact on the television audience and getting back to more "natural rivals." [DallasNews.com]
- Razor was ready for the repeated trips north even before he knew the BoG approved the plan. [Razor with an Edge]
- What you really care about as a Stars fan - average travel distances. It's not all that pretty, but it's a significant improvement. [Puck Daddy]
- Here's a solid roundup of quotes from some of the more influential powers around the NHL, complete with Gary Bettman interview at the end. [ProHockeyTalk]
- A really good article on how Bettman was the puppet-master behind this whole plan, and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. I got a good laugh from Brian Burke, who said he was concerned about the wear and tear the slightly increased travel will have on his Toronto Maple Leafs. Poor babies. That said, Toronto voted yes, so still looking for the four teams that voted no. [Yahoo]
- Also making me laugh were these comments from the Detroit Red Wings, who felt they had it just so hard in the current Central Division. While I do appreciate that as an eastern time zone team, the travel to California is even more of a pain in the butt for them, at least all of their divisional games are within an hour time zone change. [Detroit Free Press]
- I'm not much for Slam!Sports, and the misspelling of Sidney Crosby in this article (at least when I read it) is part of the reason why, but I do enjoy a good column that takes shot at how the Eastern Conference teams are whining about the travel. [Slam!Sports]
- A team that is more understandably displeased is the Florida Panthers, who along with the Tampa Bay Lightning have the oddest division setup in the league. The travel will be worse, but the matchups are likely to draw better crowds, particular among the snowbirds. [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
- Even before the proposal had passed, the folks over at Puck Daddy were looking at the potential downsides of the plan, particularly the heavy emphasis on divisional playoffs. They do pull some interesting quotes from back in 1993 when the league shifted to the two-conference look. [Puck Daddy]
- Finally, for the buzzkill of the morning, Mike Heika has a nice blog on why it might be awesome to be out of the Pacific Division, there are definite drawbacks to this new alignment as well that could affect the Stars' playoff chances. [DallasNews.com]
- What? You say they're still playing hockey this season? Well then, more good news for the Stars on Monday came on the injury front, where Brenden Morrow, Trevor Daley and Alex Goligoski all practiced. Daley and Morrow are definitely in for Thursday's game against the San Jose Sharks while Goligoski is still waiting on a special brace for his once-broken thumb. [ESPN Dallas]
- Around the Pacific Division: The Phoenix Coyotes celebrated the fact that Dallas was out of their division by defeating a fairly listless Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 in the shootout. It was the only Western Conference game played Monday because the NHL is run by monkeys at keyboards. [Chicago Tribune]
- Oh Greg Wyshynski, I respect the work you do at Puck Daddy a bunch, and in fact this will be the third time I link you in this post today. But please learn what charging actually is before you start spouting off about how leaving the feet after contact will get a guy a suspension. Now, I wouldn't put anything past the NHL, but that ain't what the rule says or how it's interpreted. [Puck Daddy]
- Stars PR went a little crazy with the post-practice video interview today, talking to five players plus coach Glen Gulutzan, from whom I learned that they still call Morrow "Mini," which warmed my shriveled, blackened little heart. But I decided to share this interview with Radek Dvorak because he's an unusual suspect for this type of thing and I'm a sucker for a deep voice and Dracula-esque accent. Sue me.