The Dallas Stars announced their 2011-12 season schedule today. And in it, as always, are 56 games against the Pacific Division.
Enough of this. It is time to get this franchise that plays at home in the Central Time Zone out of the Pacific Division. The Stars play, at least, 10 to 12 road games a year with start times of 9 p.m. CT or later. No other team has to travel two time zones away for a division game as often as the Stars. The only other team that has to do this, but not with the frequency, is Minnesota.
A Stars official told me today that the team has asked the NHL, "Get us out of the Pacific." Help may be coming.
According to this story in the Ottawa Sun, the NHL is kicking around a major re-alignment. For the upcoming season, however, everything will remain status quo. That includes the new Winnipeg "Whatevers" staying in NHL's Southeast Division. Because that makes a lot of sense.
The hangup appears to be the Phoenix Coyotes. The Coyotes are going to be in Glendale, Ariz. for one more year but no one is sure where they will re-locate. Is it Quebec? Maybe Toronto? No one knows, so any type of schedule and or conference re-alignment has been delayed until the Phoenix situation is resolved.
Once that is done, expect the league to possibly move the Red Wings and Predators to the Eastern Conference. And then expect a serious fight from the owners of the Western Conference teams that want a "name" team such as the Red Wings to remain in the West. And then expect the league to go to four divisions instead of six, a return to the balanced schedule, and the playoffs to have slight adjustment as well.
Whatever happens, it is time for the Dallas Stars to get out of this division.
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