I had skepticized about it in my “Offseason Stories,” but I had predicted that we would not be hearing any news about a new downtown arena for the Red Wings. However, today, before the offseason has even begun, sources told the Sports Business Journal. Mike Ilitch and the Red Wings have long been saying that they need a new arena, but attempts to squeeze out what little juice is left in the Joe are apparently nearing their end. Sources said that the Wings intend to develop an 18,000-seat facility.
It wasn't news to anyone that the NHL would be setting up a new realignment plan for the 2012-2013 season. Plenty of speculation went into this idea as to how it would effect the current Eastern and Western Conferences. The Winnipeg Jets, although presently in the East, seemed to be a team that would make much more sense in the West. Rumors began to run that the Detroit Red Wings would move to the Eastern Conference, or even quite possibly the Nashville Predators.
The bigger question, and one that still looms over the hearts of many fans out in the desert, is whether or not the Phoenix Coyotes will still be in any Conference next year. They are currently in what seems to be the final year of their lease agreement after almost being relocated this past summer. There's still a good possibility that they might be relocated in the near future as well, but all of that remains in limbo as the 2012 season moves forward.
However, the NHL and it's Board of Governors could not wait to see what happens in Phoenix and passed a very dramatic change to the current alignment. The Eastern and Western Conferences will ultimately be removed next year; the standard two conferences that consist of 15 teams will become four conferences with either seven or eight teams in each one.
The Blue Jackets, like many other teams in the NHL (Phoenix, Atlanta being two prime examples), struggle to find ways to make money in a small hockey market. The Blue Jackets lost $25 million dollars last year alone, along with another $28 million dollars the two years prior. This has lead majority owner John McConnell to state this during an interview with The Columbus Dispatch: “I am not looking to sell (the Blue Jackets). If this doesn’t work … you know, I really don’t have any options other than staying the owner as the team is moved. I’m hopeful that’s not going to occur. We’re going forward as if it&r...