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Penguins notebook: Adams OK with NHL realignment

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By Josh Yohe
Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, 9:03 p.m.
 

The NHL and the NHL Players Association will soon speak about realignment, and unlike the previous time this topic was raised, resistance might be minimal.

A report surfaced on the CBC's Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday that the NHL has a new plan for realignment. Joining the Penguins in a new “conference” would be the New York Rangers, New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia Flyers, Washington Capitals, Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets.

The league would be comprised of four “conferences,” which essentially would be the equivalent of divisions.

“Geographically it definitely makes sense,” said Craig Adams, the Penguins' player representative. “The two Florida teams (Florida and Tampa Bay) don't really fit well in any scenario but that's going to be the case regardless for them.”

In this proposal, the Detroit Red Wings and Blue Jackets would both get their wish of coming to the Eastern Conference. Detroit has lobbied for years to play in the Eastern Conference because of the travel difficult it faces by always playing teams on the west coast.

“I think it's going to be tough to please everybody,” Adams said. “But it's not hard to look at the map and try to figure out where everyone should be.”

Of far greater concern in this scenario is finding a fair way to produce annual playoff teams. The Western Conference, in this case, would only have 14 teams while the Eastern Conference would boast 16 teams.

The NHL would prefer to see the first two rounds of the postseason be contested within each respective conference.

“I have no idea how they're planning on balancing the playoff system,” Adams said. “There's obviously an inherent problem there when you've got 16 on one side and 14 on the other.”

• The Penguins hosted 13 military veterans on Sunday, starting with a group picture in the locker room following the morning skate. Also, the Penguins wore camouflage uniforms during the pre-game skate. The organization often recognizes the military. Coach Dan Bylsma and many players spent time with the veterans throughout the day. “What they've done,” Bylsma said, “is very humbling.”

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