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Blackhawks Fri Mar 15 2013

NHL Realignment Impacts Blackhawks Rivals

Thumbnail image for GB blackhawks icon.pngHawks fans, be prepared to get "Detroit Sucks" out of your system. An argument can be made that you should have already done so.

The National Hockey League's Board of Governors approved realignment this week. The league will be split up into four divisions divided up based on geography.

Many Blackhawks fans don't like it because of the 87-year rivalry with the Detroit Red Wings will come to an end. Rocky Wirtz recently told ESPN.com that losing Detroit as a division rivals is a good thing for the league.

"The way I look at it, we lost Detroit but we gained the other four Original Six teams,'' Wirtz said. "We lost a couple of games with Detroit but to have Montreal, Toronto, Boston and the Rangers in your building every year I think is a great tradeoff. So to me, you lose one and you gain four. I was very much in favor of this."

Realignment needed to happen for the NHL to grow. The league needs to expand. Look at the popularity of the Blackhawks recently. During the streak, the team had the lead on ESPN's Sportscenter for most of the point streak. They even made the cover of this week's Sports Illustrated. The popularity of the Blackhawks streak means that the league is getting more press. Sales of Blackhawks apparel went up 88% during the points streak according to Fanatics.com.


hawks cover.jpg

One of the reasons that realignment needed to happen is because the teams in the southern states need help -- re: attendance problems. Atlanta has lost two teams in the modern era because people didn't show up. Also, the new alignment sets up well for league expansion. If the league is doing well, it means no labor stoppages.

Another benefit is that the Hawks get to play every other NHL team twice. Thanks to realignment, fans are going to see a lot more of the Colorado Avalanche, who ended the points streak last week. Also, a home and home game with Original Six teams such as Boston and Montreal will garner a fair amount of interest. Imagine if the Hawks would have gotten a full season with the realignment. You would get to see how the team stacks up against the powerhouse teams in the Eastern Conference. That's the measuring stick right there.

Division realignment needed to happen for the league to grow. Keeping butts in seats and people watching games on TV is what the league needs to avoid another lockout. No one wants that to happen again.

 
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