Steve Yzerman, Vincent Lecavalier

Steve Yzerman isn’t a fan of realignment proposal for Tampa Bay


When it comes to the latest realignment proposal by the NHL, we already know Ilya Kovalchuk isn’t much of a fan, but you can add the Tampa Bay Lightning to that list as well.

General manager Steve Yzerman tells Erik Erlendsson of The Tampa Tribune that he doesn’t like the hassle the latest solution puts his team through when it comes to travel and competition.

“And logistically if it gets done the way it appears to be proposed certainly having four original six teams in our division is something I think our fanbase would appreciate . . . but again the traveling crossing the border and flying above Carolina and Washington to play teams in our own division those are things that we don’t like about it for our organization.”

In case you forgot, Tampa Bay and Florida would be the outliers in a new division with Detroit, Toronto, Ottawa, Buffalo, Montreal, and Boston. Having to deal with customs and border crossings is a pain, but a kind of necessary one in the hockey world.

If I were Tampa Bay, or more accurately Florida, I’d be more worried about visiting fans trying to take over my home arena each time. There’s no shortage of fans of those teams on the road.

PHT Morning Skate: Where we look at realignment, Olympics, Leafs

NHL realignment

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Rather than move Detroit or Columbus from the East to West to fix the Conference size imbalance, would it be better to make the conferences geographically neutral like the MLB or NFL? (Rotoworld)

Don Cherry criticized Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf for declining to fight Montreal Canadiens forward Brandon Prust during the Leafs’ 5-2 loss on Wednesday. “I knew they were going to lose when he didn’t answer the bell,” Cherry said. (Sportsnet)

Anaheim Ducks forward Kyle Palmieri looks back on Wednesday’s hat trick. At 22-years-old, he became the second-youngest Ducks player to ever accomplish that feat. (

37-year-old defenseman Francis Bouillon was afraid that the lockout would end his playing career. Now that the work stoppage is behind us, the Montreal Canadiens’ blueliner is reaching some meaningful milestones. (Montreal Gazette)

Forward Aaron Volpatti is looking forward to bringing his physical game to the Washington Capitals. (Washington Times)

Former head coach Ron Wilson figured the Maple Leafs firing him a year ago “was kind of inevitable,” according to his friend and current Capitals assistant coach Tim Hunter. He thinks Wilson, 57, would also take another coaching position if the opportunity presented itself. Wilson had a 648-561-101-91 record with Anaheim, Washington, San Jose, and Toronto. (Toronto Star)

New Jersey Devils forward Ryan Carter confirmed that he sustained a concussion on Feb. 18. On the plus side, he thinks he might be able to return Saturday. (New Jersey Online)

On the anniversary of Sidney Crosby’s golden goal, Steve Yzerman reflects on Canada winning gold at the 2010 Winter Olympics. (

Top New York Rangers prospect Chris Kreider is back in the minors. (New York Newsday)

Devils’ Kovalchuk not a fan of proposed realignment

Ilya Kovalchuk

Count Ilya Kovalchuk among the NHLPA members not thrilled with the NHL’s latest realignment proposal.

“For us I don’t think it makes any sense to change it,” Kovalchuk told the New Jersey Star-Ledger. “We have a great division with good travel for all the teams in our division. A lot of rivalry games.”

This past week has seen a lot of developments on new-look conferences and proposed playoff formats (see related posts below.)

Earlier this morning, TSN’s Darren Dreger said some players weren’t thrilled with the prospect of imbalanced conferences — the East would have 16 teams while the West would have 14 — and the idea of wildcard playoff spots.

Kovalchuk re-iterated that feeling.

“Overall, with 16 teams on our side and 14 teams over there, I don’t think that’s how it should be,” he said. “And then those wild cards and all that. I don’t think it makes too much sense.

“Hockey should stay hockey. It doesn’t have to be football.”


Report: NHL introduces new realignment plan

Dreger: 50-50 chance players support realignment proposal

Daly: NHL will address how expansion/relocation impacts realignment if it happens

More proposed realignment changes: Two conferences, four divisions

Dreger: 50-50 chance players support realignment proposal

R.J. Umberger #18 of the Columbus Blue Jackets screens Jimmy Howard #35 of the Detroit Red Wings as James Wisniewski #21 of the Columbus Blue Jackets scores a power play goal with a shot from the blue line during the first period on February 2, 2013 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

The Columbus Blue Jackets and Detroit Red Wings will finally be making the move from the Western to Eastern Conference, if the most recently reported realignment plan is accepted.

However, nothing has been decided yet and their ambition to play in the Eastern Conference might run into a roadblock.

The players aren’t happy that the Eastern Conference would have 16 teams while the Western Conference only has 14, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.

That imbalance would make it easier to for Western Conference teams to make the playoffs, and some would like to see it solved by moving either the Detroit Red Wings or Columbus Blue Jackets back to the Western Conference.

“Told it’s 50-50 at the moment as to whether or not PA approves realignment proposal,” Dreger said. “NHL will push hard to get it through as is.”

It’s not as simple as keeping Columbus in the West though. If the players and league attempt to do that, the Blue Jackets would “fight like hell” to prevent it, according to the Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline.

“From a Blue Jackets’ perspective, playing the majority of our games in the eastern time zone would be beneficial from a travel perspective … and (for) our television and radio broadcasts,” said Blue Jackets president Mike Priest in a Columbus Dispatch report.

Keeping the Blue Jackets in the West but letting Detroit move would cost Columbus the big attraction of regular games against the Red Wings without gaining more favorable travel times in the process.

If you need a refresher on what the current plan is, we have all the details here.

PHT Morning Skate: Where Florida teams would have rough travel schedule post-realignment

Mike Weaver

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

The Ottawa Senators are allowing a ton of shots on goal, but their goaltenders have still recorded one of the lowest GAAs in the NHL. (Ottawa Citizen)

Florida Panthers NHLPA representative Mike Weaver thinks that travel will be “by far the worst in Florida” if the current realignment plan goes forward. (Sun Sentinel)

The San Jose Sharks are looking for more offense out of their blueliners. The Sharks defensemen have scored a combined four goals in 2013. (San Jose Mercury News)

The Los Angeles Kings might run into some salary cap problems this summer if they intend to keep their current team intact. (LA Kings Insider)

Buffalo Sabres interim coach Ron Rolston is looking to build momentum after a 2-1 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. (Buffalo News)

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Derick Brassard is out for one-to-two weeks because of an upper body injury. The silver lining is that it’s not a head injury. (Columbus Dispatch)

Michael Ryder didn’t leave the Montreal Canadiens on the best of terms in 2008, but the way he sees it, things are a lot different going into his second stint with the club. He made his post-trade debut in Montreal’s 5-2 victory over Toronto on Wednesday. (Sportsnet)

Boston Bruins forward Tyler Seguin has just three goals in 16 games, but that doesn’t mean that he’s not contributing. (Boston Herald)

Here’s the highlights from Philadelphia’s 4-1 victory over Washington Wednesday night:

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