NHL execs meet, talk realignment

Updated: September 22, 2011, 9:41 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

NEW YORK -- The NHL's board of governors convened Tuesday and held a lengthy discussion on realignment.

No resolution was reached, but NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said afterwards it was a chance for teams to express their views on the matter.

The Atlanta Thrashers moved to Winnipeg in the offseason, but the Jets will remain in the southeast division in the Eastern Conference this season, giving the league more time to figure out conference alignment once Winnipeg moves to the West for the 2012-13 season.

However, just how that move affects other clubs and other divisions remains to be seen.

"Obviously we have to make arrangements to move Winnipeg west, and we had an opportunity to explore the issues," Bettman told NHL.com on Tuesday. "No conclusions were reached, but it's something I'm hopeful we can resolve at the December meeting."

The NHL must make a decision at the December meeting in order to give the league's schedule maker enough time to draw up the 2012-13 schedule. The Detroit Red Wings have made it known they hope to move to the Eastern Conference when the league realigns. The Columbus Blue Jackets also have expressed interest in moving to the East.

"Selfishly we want to move to the East, but maybe there are scenarios where we would be OK with staying where we are, or maybe there is a bigger realignment out there that we would favor," Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson told NHL.com. "So, we're open to it. We have some strong views on why we want to move to the East, but we're certainly cognizant of some of the other teams' concerns. It was a very good opening dialogue on the subject."

Realignment has always been a contentious issue in the NHL. "There are no shortage of issues and possibilities," Bettman told NHL.com. "There are a number of clubs that would like to see an adjustment as far as where they're aligned, and every club that felt that way had an opportunity to explain to the board why. We went around the room to get a sense of what people were thinking."

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