Secondly: Let me address the Winnipeg franchise and how this in any way affects the Detroit Red Wings.
Of course, as an old-school fan I am purely excited to see Atlanta get moved to a true hockey market. Whether it's Winnipeg or anywhere hockey is celebrated at a community level, this is exciting for the real fans of the sport.
First question on the minds of the fans here in Michigan: Will the Red Wings get put in the Eastern Conference, finally?
I remain hopeful, as many should. But there is so much against the Wings. And at first I was doubting any chance that the cash-cow Red Wings would get put in their own time zone again. Just didn't seem like a move Bettman would approve of, but neither did a return to Winnipeg.
Now, with the latest talks about a presentation opportunity for Ken Holland and the Nashville and Columbus franchises, I'd say the Wings have a decent chance of getting what they want.
The NHL owes it to them. Yes, they are entitled to the EC. And I don't see why that's not enough reason to do it. Is there anything else to support the argument beyond that?
The Red Wings have done so much for the league, it owes Holland and the fans a choice to move back to the east.
Realistically, I assume moves will not happen until 2013. I have heard so many bizarre "rezoning" ideas for the league's divisions, but I don't believe much of it. And all I care about is where the Wings end up when it is all hashed out.
Phoenix's uncertain future poses a threat to Detroit's eastern bid. The Coyotes could very well end up in an eastern market by 2013, and that's not what Detroit needs.
One last unrelated note: Winnipeg's return could be just in time for Kris Draper to make a full-circle career move. Maybe we can hand him over for a looney.