NHL realignment: How it affects the Bruins

More Red Wings-Bruins? Sign us up.
More Red Wings-Bruins? Sign us up.

There are some significant changes in store for the NHL next season as the board of governors officially approved the proposed realignment on Thursday. It is scheduled to run through the 2015-16 season with a review due after 2014-15. Instead of six divisions, there will be four. Detroit and Columbus will come to the Eastern Conference while Winnipeg will switch to the Western Conference. Future divisionmates (they haven’t named the new divisions yet) were on display at TD Garden on Thursday night with the Boston Bruins hosting the Florida Panthers.

Boston’s current Northeast Division foes Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and Buffalo will all be joined by Detroit, Tampa Bay and Florida. On the surface, it’s an eclectic group that spans from Canada to the Sunshine State. For the B’s, the tantalizing part is that they will be playing the Red Wings on a much more regular basis. They are two of the NHL’s Original 6 rivals who usually only play once or twice a year (none this season since teams only play within their own conference). The Lightning (11-14-1) are a mess this season but as long as they have Steven Stamkos, the NHL’s most explosive goal-scorer, they’re worth tuning in for.

Other than the snowbirds from New England in Florida (of which there are plenty), there probably won’t be many people excited about more Panthers-Bruins tilts. Right now, Florida (7-14-6 entering tonight) is the worst team in the NHL due partly to a slew of injuries to veteran players. The Panthers were in the playoffs last season so they’re not hopeless. Still, they always struggle to draw fans to the BB&T Center so having some of the most popular teams in the NHL – Boston, Montreal, Toronto and Detroit – should only help at the gate. If nothing else, the Northeast Division teams and some dedicated fans will enjoy getting out of the snow and bleak winters to enjoy some rays just like the Bruins did a few weeks ago while Boston was hit with another snowstorm.

For the league, these moves make sense since despite there being an unbalanced amount of teams (16 in the East, 14 in the West), all the squads that reside in the same time zones will be together. Not that you noticed but Dallas and Winnipeg had been getting screwed in that regard. The best part is that the Bruins are guaranteed to play at a home-and-home with every other team in the NHL. This lockout shortened season has shown how much is lacking when you are forced to play only the teams in your conference. You can only take so many Bruins-Islanders, Bruins-Jets and Bruins-Panthers games before you lose your mind and yearn for more competitive and meaningful action.

Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter:
@RichSlate



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Is #JusticeForAvaLynn a case of bullying?

On Saturday, the hashtag #JusticeForAvaLynn became one of the trending topics on Twitter. Users circulated the above photo of 5-year-old AvaLynn, posted by her mother…

International

Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…

National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

Gossip

Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…