Author: Jason Brough

Calgary Flames v Ottawa Senators

Post expansion, could NHL realign with eight divisions?


After the NHL received just two bids for expansion teams — one for Las Vegas, the other for Quebec City, but nothing for Seattle or Portland — could the league be headed for another realignment?

From the Globe and Mail’s Eric Duhatschek:

When the NHL last realigned, the commitment was only for three years. It was thought that the possibility of further change was left open merely to see how the then-ongoing Arizona Coyotes saga played out.

But now, it could also give way to a radical realignment with, among other things, the possibility of eight four-team divisions, the model used by the National Football League. Under that scenario, you could actually create two Canadian divisions – Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver in the West; Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City in the East.

If Las Vegas and Quebec City are granted franchises — a big if, mind you — perhaps an eight-division NHL could look something like:

1. Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg
2. Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose, Las Vegas
3. Arizona, Dallas, Colorado, Nashville
4. Minnesota, Chicago, St. Louis, Columbus
5. Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City
6. Carolina, Florida, Tampa Bay, Washington
7. NY Rangers, NY Islanders, New Jersey, Buffalo
8. Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Detroit, Boston

Cue Blue Jackets fans hollering about moving back to the Western Conference and Caps fans wondering why they have to be in a division with two teams from Florida. The Arizona- Dallas-Colorado-Nashville division is kinda far-flung, too.

The thing is, when it comes to realignment, there’s no perfect solution. Or, if there is, we haven’t seen one.

Feel free to add your ultimate eight-division alignment in the comments. Maybe you can craft the perfect formula.

No hurt feelings between Smith and Preds


In the end, Craig Smith and the Nashville Predators didn’t need an arbitrator to render a decision on his salary. The two sides reached a four-year, $21.25 million deal on their own.

But they still went through with Monday’s hearing. And as we all know, sometimes those hearings can cause hurt feelings.

Not so in this case, according to Smith and GM David Poile.

“I’ve probably said worse things (about) myself than what I heard (in) there,” Smith said, per The Tennessean.

Said Poile: “I’m sure if you talked to Craig Smith, he might have taken disagreement to things that we said, but I would be very surprised if he’s not a very happy guy today.”

Calgary’s Lance Bouma is scheduled for arbitration today. Thursday, it’s Washington’s Braden Holtby and Ottawa’s Alex Chiasson.

Related: Ah, arbitration: Holtby reportedly asking for $8 million, Caps countering at $5.1 million

Zac Rinaldo doesn’t ‘plan on getting suspended’ or ‘taking stupid penalties’

Zac Rinaldo, Andy McElman

Zac Rinaldo is out to change his reputation as an undisciplined hockey player.

“[My game] is going to change in a better way for the team,” Rinaldo said, per the Bruins’ website. “I don’t plan on getting suspended; that’s the last thing I want to do. I don’t plan on taking stupid penalties; that’s the last thing I want to do, is hurt my team.

“Changing for the better will happen.”

Rinaldo was traded to Boston from Philadelphia in June. The 25-year-old forward has 572 PIM in 223 career NHL games. In January, he was suspended eight games for charging and boarding Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang from behind. At the time, he’d already been suspended twice and fined twice by the NHL.

Now with the B’s, he still intends to play a physical game, his acquisition not-so-coincidentally coming after GM Don Sweeney vowed to return “the aggressiveness that was lost in our group.”

He just plans to be a little smarter about it.

“I’m going to be the rough, tough Zac Rinaldo,” he said, “but I’m also going to add in more hockey sense.”