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02-24-2013, 10:46 PM
  #326
Mike Louis
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If the NHL does decide to go the two conference / four division route, I can see Rocky Wirtz getting mighty pissed about the Blackhawks / Red Wings rivalry being lost, and Chicago being the only O6 left in the West.

This reminds me how Detroit felt when Toronto went to the East circa 1998, and Columbus being placed in the West by the league as a indirect form of compensation for the lost Red Wings / Maple Leafs rivalry.

Now put yourself in Bettman's role for a moment, say the 16 ETZ teams are voting for two ETZ divisions (Adams / Patrick) with eight teams each. Now sure Detroit and Columbus will jump on it in a heartbeat, but the current Central Division teams (ie Chicago, Nashville, and St. Louis) will be pissed like hell.

Now the ETZ teams will need at the very least, four non ETZ teams to vote "yes" to get the 2/3 majority needed for this proposed alignment. The problem then becomes how to get those four votes, yet at the same time avoid the perception that the Central Division is getting screwed by this proposal.

If I was Bettman, the answer I believe centers on what kind of compensation I would offer to Wirtz. This is where I suspect the saga with the Coyotes comes into play. With Don Levin, owner of the AHL Chicago Wolves being one of the many looking to buy the Coyotes, I can see a scenario where Bettman goes to Wirtz and does a deal where Wirtz will sign off on Detroit going East in exchange for letting Coyotes move into Rosemont with Wirtz pocketing half of the relocation fee and getting a written promise that should an ETZ team move west that the Blackhawks have first right to move to the East. QC and Seattle get expansion teams with Levin transferring his AHL team to Phoenix to appease the Glendale city council.

The bottom line for me is if Bettman can get Wirtz to let the Red Wings go to the East, the rest of the chips will fall into place.

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