New Jersey Devils’ Forward Ilya Kovalchuk not a Fan of the Proposed Realignment Plan
“For us, I don’t think it makes any sense to change it,” Kovalchuk said earlier this week. “We have a great division with good travel for all the teams in our division. A lot of rivalry games.”
Details regarding the new setup were apparently leaked to ESPN.com last weekend, prompting many rumors and speculation this week online and off.
On Tuesday, all 30 teams received memos with the proposed changes.
The Winnipeg Jets move to Canada from Atlanta last season is what prompted the need for realignment in the first place.
In December of 2011, a realignment plan was voted down by the players because of travel concerns and the proposed playoff changes.
The Red Wings have long been lobbying for a move east because of the increased travel in the west along with the time zone issues.
This new plan would have two divisions in each conference. In the West, each division would have seven teams. However, in the East, each division would have eight.
These proposed changes would drop the number of divisions from six to four and would revamp the format of the playoffs.
The top three teams in each division qualify for a playoff spot and the remaining four spots go to wild card teams.
The team who wins the division with the most points in the regular season would play the wild card team with the least amount of points after the wild cards from each section play each other.
“Overall with 16 teams on our side and 14 over there,” Kovalchuk complained. “I don’t think it makes too much sense. Hockey should stay hockey. It doesn’t have to be football.”
In order to be enacted for next season, the proposed plan must be approved by the NHL’s Board of Governors as well as the Player’s Association.