NHL power brokers react to realignment

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The NHL’s Board of Governors signed off on some big changes today, as the league agreed to move to a four-conference setup for next season (pending a meeting with the NHLPA). You can vote for the teams that are the biggest “winners” and “losers” here, but you might wonder how the NHL’s biggest movers and shakers reacted to the decision. Here’s a collection of some of the highlights from general managers, executives and even a player you might have heard of.

Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke brushed off talk that Toronto lost out in realignment, but his best quote comes here:  “It was typical Gary Bettman. It’s like a Chicago election in the 1930s. Not that it’s fixed, but you have a pretty good sense what’s going to happen beforehand.” (Editor’s note: It’s too bad Burke would probably shoot down the idea of his own reality show, because he almost always says something uproarious. Click here for video of Burke’s reactions.)

Predators GM David Poile was very happy about the impact on Nashville, but also spoke about the big picture: “I think we did the right thing, it’s not perfect for everybody, but it certainly helps us. It helps our travel and it’s better exposure with teams coming in, so this is very good for the Nashville Predators.” (Video)

Sidney Crosby’s effusive praise: “I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. I think everyone’s probably happy with that. Washington’s a pretty good rival… I don’t see anyone being disappointed about this.”

Hall of Fame Red Wings executive Jim Devellano ranks among the many Detroit executives who are delighted: “It’s a dream come true for the Detroit Red Wings and its fans. Our fans now will get to see every team in the NHL at least once every year. Our fans will have far fewer games starting at 10:40 at night, far fewer … ”

Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson was also fairly pleased, even if he didn’t look particularly tickled.

Capitals GM George McPhee’s comments bordered on boisterous, though. Here are some of his most intriguing thoughts via Tarik El-Bashir: “We think it’s great for our fans that we’re back in the [Patrick Division] again because it’s historically been a great division and our fans have always loved those rivalries … It will be the best travel schedule in the league.”

Finally, let’s close things out with the league’s biggest executives. You can click here for video of Bill Daly’s reaction and watch video of Gary Bettman’s thoughts below.