The topic of realignment hasn’t come up at all in CBA negotiations, but if a new deal is reached to save the season we might see two teams trade conferences.
Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports there’s talk within the NHL of having the Columbus Blue Jackets and Winnipeg Jets trading spots for this year only pending future realignment. The benefit here during a possible 48-game schedule is on travel.
If the Jets start a shortened season in the Southeast Division once again, travel for them would be murderous over the course of the four or five month season. Columbus staying in the Central Division wouldn’t be much better for them travel-wise and certainly wouldn’t be helpful competitively.
On the upside, we’d get to have that awkward “Rick Nash returns to Columbus as a New York Ranger” game right away this season. There’d also be Sergei Bobrovsky’s revenge match with Philadelphia to look forward to as well.
If it’s just a one-season fix, it works out just fine. It cuts down on manic travel for a couple teams in awkward positions and opens the door for things to be fixed for good in the offseason.
Plus, as Brooks so bluntly put it, you’re trading one non-playoff team for another one in the name of easing travel. Win-win situation.
GM says Blue Jackets are ‘off the rails’ right now
Apparently Blue Jackets management is a little shaken by the second 0-3-0 start in franchise history, however.
Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen shared his shock and dismay with the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline on Tuesday.
“I’m surprised how, in just five days, we’ve gone from a very confident group to something that’s the opposite of that,” Kekalainen told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “Our confidence, our game … it’s off the rails right now.
Maybe losing to the Buffalo Sabres stings a little bit extra?
Kekalainen said “there’s no excuse for how we played in Buffalo,” pointing out that every team in the NHL is a “good team.”
Indeed, just about every squad boasts some dangerous weapons if they catch an opponent sleeping.
Portzline goes deeper on Columbus’ recent history of stumbling out of the gate, but consider the foreboding stretch coming up.
Next four games: Three out of four at home Eight games following that: Seven out of eight on the road.
As you can see, winter is coming for Columbus, so they best get things together. All things considered, this is the right time for a wake-up call.
For bonus chuckles, here’s a photo of Kekalainen on a railing.
He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.
Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).
That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out
This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:
With Ovechkin out, Caps lines look like this: