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Newest Realignment Proposal Passes, Leaves Sabres & Northeast Div. Mostly Alone

12/05/11
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Saturday night, Hockey Night in Canada’s Elliotte Friedman revealed the newest realignment proposal that would be voted on at the board of governors meetings this week. He broke the news with a pair of tweets detailing how the new four conference NHL would look if approved:

The new seven-team conference the Sabres would play in is the Northeast Division with the pair of Florida teams thrown in for what might just be kicks. Besides the addition of a home and home versus every team in the league (how about them awesome apples?!), the Sabres would only see a marginal uptick in travel as they already go down to Tampa Bay and Sunshine twice a season each as it is.

This new plan looks like it makes the most sense of any suggested yet, Beside the weird placement of the Southeast Division teams, each conference follows a clear geographical pattern and helps to either maintain or re-establish rivalries. For the Sabres, specifically, it keeps all of their NE rivalries in place while giving expatriates and snowbirds more chances to see their hometown team every season.

This is a fairly radical departure from the current set-up and a number of teams have expressed displeasure with it, putting a two-thirds vote in possible jeopardy. The BOG meetings conclude tomorrow in Pebble Beach, so if a vote happens, fans should know what’s up by Tuesday evening.

UPDATE
Here’s a couple of tweets to keep everyone on the edge of their seats…

UPDATE 2
Now here’s Bob McKenzie with the (prelimenary) ruling…

UPDATE 3
Yahoo! Sports’ Nick Cotsonika has confirmed the four conference, home & home proposal has passed:

UPDATE 4
And here’s the final word from Friedge, basically confirming his story from NHL Hot Stove the other night:

What say you, Sabres (and NHL) fans? I’m loving this new Snowbird (stick-tap to James Mirtle on that nickname) conference the Sabres are in. All that’s left to see is what they’re named, how the playoffs work, and what in the blue hell happens with Phoenix. It’s gonna be all sorts of fun next season!

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