If we are to believe the Irish god of Twitter, Bob McKenzie, then the Detroit Red Wings will be the newest member of the Eastern Conference in the Southeast Division, sliding the Winnipeg Jets over to the Western Conference in the Central Division.
I'll let that sink in for a second, while you try-- like me-- to figure out how this is possible.
For one, the Red Wings are further north than the Columbus Blue Jackets-- who could really use the move to the Eastern Conference because of the monetary woes they have been having. Greg Wyshynski pointed it out perfectly in this tweet. Hell, even the Nashville Predators would make a little more sense to be in that area in terms of location; though they are in another time zone and about 200 miles further away to their closest rival than the Wings or Jackets are.
Regardless of the outcome-- the tin-foil hat brigade will be other on either side.
If the Red Wings move: Then the Wings haters will be all over the NHL for saying that the Wings have the NHL by short hairs and forced this move to have an easier schedule, though they have been doing very well in the Western Conference even with the travel.
If any other team moves in lieu of the Red Wings: Then the Wings fans will get up in arms about how the NHL doesn't want them to win and that because of their history-- they should be able to move to the East and have a lighter travel handed to them.
Either way, the NHL is in a lose-lose situation here. Damned if they do, damned if they don't.
Not so much the distant, the fact that the Red Wings would lose the rivalries they have with the Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, and even the Nashville Predators if they moved west; though if the Preds move-- that would screw that up, but whatever. My point is that you can't have a team that has a rival base like that up-and-move because they feel they have some kind of stroke with the league.
Logically, the Blue Jackets would be the best. They don't have any natural rivalries in the West, they're in financial peril and could use the break in travel, plus they're closer to the Southeast Division than the Wings. I'm not a fan of the Predators moving due to the time-zone, but at the same time-- it would fit in to the geographical logic.
With brings me to this point, the NHL needs to realize that they geographical assignments to the divisions don't work. Hell, the divisions should exist anymore. Since teams don't have to play out of their divisions to move along-- why even have them at all?? Send the best eight teams out of the Conference to represent them in the Stanley Cup Finals rather than having to make sure that every division has a team in there, even if they aren't worthy enough-- like the Southeast Division was for years. There's really no need to have the geographical assignments with teams out of whack-- like Minnesota in the Northwest Division.
If the NHL wants a divisional setting-- you'll have to have uneven divisions of seven in one, eight in the other, and have the top-four from each go to the playoffs, play out of the playoffs, and then move onto the winners out of the division go to the Conference Finals-- much like in the days where there was a Patrick, Adams, Smythe, and Norris Divisions out there.
The debate will never not make sense to one side or another and the debates will rage on. Now, if the Blue Jackets or Phoenix Coyotes end up moving to Quebec City-- then problem solved, but that's just me stirring the pot. We'll just have to wait until December.....a long December.