Wings Need to Move East

There isn't a whole lot to say about the way the second round is going for the Detroit Red Wings this year (see last year), so we'll save that for when their run is finished. But an issue that keeps popping up is the Red Wings moving to the Eastern Conference.

While there are a bunch of reasons that Red Wings fans welcome this change, there are a few main points that hammer home the debate.

1. Western Timezone

The Wings play a lot of games in Edmonton, Anaheim, Vancouver, San Jose, Phoenix, Calgary and Colorado. The problem with that is they are all three hours behind the time in Detroit! All those games start at around 10:30 pm in Detroit, which is a problem for a lot of Detroit fans. As a kid I remember the games used to be on Fox 2 or UPN 50, but all the road games were so late. I was never allowed to watch them. Why would that change for kids now? It may affect the way kids choose their favourite teams, with all the Leafs, Habs and East coast teams being in the same time frame, a lot of kids, and even adults, for that matter are more comfortable watching those games compared to a 10:30 Wings road game against a team from the dessert or a beach. Bottom line is that the Leafs are in the East, why not Detroit?

2. Travel

As stated above, the Wings travel probably the furthest out of any NHL team, although the rest of the Central Division may suffer as well (mainly Columbus and Nashville). When you have a trip to Colorado, back to Detroit, out to Dallas, to Vancouver, to Detroit, and so on, it really wears on a team. Compare that to a team like the Rangers: go to the island, come home, go to Pittsburgh, Philly, Carolina, Boston, Toronto. Those teams are all close together. It only makes sense to count in Detroit. If anything, have every team play each team the same number of times.

3. Rivalries

Does Detroit really have a rivalry with anyone? Chicago, maybe, but they've only met in the playoffs once in the last ten or so years in 2009, so how can a legit rivalry be started? The rivalry with Colorado was because of the Claude Lemieux incident, but the playoff matchups year after year were where it was at. Imagine Detroit playing Pittsburgh or Toronto in the playoffs, it would be unreal. If Bettman wants rivalries, this is the way to go.

So why won;'t they move? Well, for one thing, Bettman is still the commissioner. Who knows what that brainiac is thinking. It can only be assumed that it's because of the fact that people are drawn to games when Detroit, an Original Six team, is in Anaheim or San Jose. Just watch a Coyotes-Wings game in Phoenix; half the crowd is Wings fans.

At the moment, it could be argued that the Eastern Conference is a little bit weaker than the West (if Don Cherry agrees it has to be true), but we can't factor that in because all teams' talent changes all the time. maybe, as a Red Wings fan, I'm being selfish, but fans would be able to see a whole lot more games, and they would see more games against old teams like Philly, Boston, Toronto, Montreal and Washington.

Call me biased but that's what all Wings fans should want.

Kyle Busch


Chuck Gaston Jr's picture

You know they had a story on this on ESPN earlier in the season and alot of Wings fans had the same thought process as you. If I can find the link I will share it but from what I can recall, the wings travel time(mileage and and time differental) they had the 14th or 13th most in the league, or something similar like I said I cant recall exactly. Teams like Florida had the longest travel time in the East and they travel more than Detroit. The time zone issue wasn't directly addressed in terms of viewership, but the travel time shifts from year to year as well. Dallas, Calgary and Phoenix travel the most I believe, while the atlantic division travels the least, Pittsburgh and Philly travel less than anyone.
In terms of Rivalries, the atlantic and the northeast have so much history that it would be difficult to convince anyone to split up those two divisions. In terms of a weaker conference, I would say the East is a little weaker, but gaining alot of ground as of recent. The past decade has seen almost even amounts of cups for both, its not like the NFL where the AFC is really the powerhouse. If they were to restructure teams like Colombus would probably get first dibs on moving to the East.

George Prax's picture

For every reason you say that the Wings should move east, there's at least 2 why they won't move East. As Chuck said, there are plenty of other teams that travel a lot more than the wings do (albeit not in different time zones). There are way too many great rivalries in the East to break up divisions, especially in the two that Detroit would fit in, and as you said yourself, Detroit is arguably the biggest draw in the southern markets in the west and that would hurt a lot of teams down there.

All your points make sense, but I don't think it's enough to make the change. The problem is that so long as the league stays East/West in its conferences there are a few teams like Detroit and Columbus that end up screwed. But at the same time, there isn't a single team in the Northeast that doesn't have a rivalry with any of the other four teams, and the same could be said about the Atlantic. Either way, someone's getting fucked over. Not to mention that if Detroit gets moved east, the team that gets fucked over the most is Chicago, which becomes the only western Original Six team.

I guess if they really had to, they could move Detroit to the Northeast and put Boston or Buffalo in the Atlantic, but again, who do you move out of the Atlantic? It's way too hard.

Kyle Andrew Busch's picture

I realize there are a ton of reasons not too (I mentioned a few), and Chuck, I couldn't find the actual numbers, but if you find them let me know, it sounds interesting. I don't want the divisions moved around either, keep the divisions the same somehow, just add Detroit. It won't happen but I can dream.

George Prax's picture

Only way it would happen is if Atlanta moves somewhere west IMO

Hockeybroad's picture

"Chicago, maybe, but they've only met in the playoffs once in the last ten or so years in 2009, so how can a legit rivalry be started?"

Uhhh... you're aware they're both Original Six teams, right? These two teams have a long and storied rivalry that's older than most teams in the league have even existed.

Kyle Andrew Busch's picture

I don't consider them rivals just because they are original six teams. That doesn't mean a whole lot in my opinion. A rivalry is two teams who have been meeting up with heated matchups because both teams are good, not where they are situated or their history from God knows when. For example, I consider these rivalries in today's game:

Washington - Pittsburgh
Boston - Montreal
Edmonton - Calgary
Detroit - Pittsburgh/Toronto, only problem is they never play enough to get more hype.

Rivalries change over time. Detroit-Colorado was once huge, but it's dead now.

evilbobsaget's picture

Why not make 3 conferences.

West; San Jose, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Anaheim, Phoenix, Dallas, Colorado, Edmonton, Calgary, Minnesota

Central: Chicago, St-Louis, Nashville, Detroit, Columbus, Atlanta, Florida, Tampa, Carolina, Toronto or Pittsburgh

East; New York, Long Island, Montreal, Ottawa, New Jersey, Philly, Washington, Boston, Buffalo, Toronto or Pittsburgh

Make playoff top 16 by standings. This way you could possibly have a Montreal-Toronto or Los Angeles-San Jose, Chicago-Detroit Stanley cup final.

George Prax's picture

I would love for the NHL to tweak the system to allow for 2 east or 2 west teams to be able to play each other in the finals. it doesn't make much sense that we see Bruins/Habs in the 1st round every year but it's impossible to have it in the finals.

I think two conferences / 4 divisions would be perfect: Northeast and Atlantic in the East, Pacific and Midwest in the West. One division of 7, another of 8. Top two teams from each division make it in (home ice advantage), two wildcards from each conference, and then two 3 game playoffs in each conference for the final two spots (seeing as the 7th to 11th seeds always seem tied at the end).

If we want to add the twist from Bob in there, you could even have the wildcards and/or mini-playoffs be inter-conference, allowing teams from the East to enter the west playoffs and vice versa.

Kyle Andrew Busch's picture

I would want the same playoff format, just switch a few teams around lol

George Prax's picture

Why would it matter for you? Detroit almost always gets home ice anyway Tongue

Kyle Andrew Busch's picture

I just hate staying up to midnight watching games