Michael Russo's Sunday Insider: It's all about location

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 15, 2011 - 11:31 PM

There are benefits to the Wild switching divisions, but NHL politics will probably prevent it from happening.

hide

Wild owner Craig Leipold took in the action at Xcel Energy Center.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Since Craig Leipold bought the Wild in 2008, his desire has been to get it out of the geographically-illogical Northwest Division and into the confines of the Central.

He believes, most importantly, the Wild's fans want the Wild in the Central Division, which now at least includes Detroit, Chicago and St. Louis -- three teams, who along with the North Stars of yesteryear, helped make up the old Norris Division.

The Wild owner has worked overtime trying to convince Commissioner Gary Bettman and the NHL's powers-that-be that when realignment comes after this season, now is the time for the Wild to make the move.

Last summer, Leipold said on a radio show that he believed headway had been made as long as the NHL moved to a radical four-division league made up of seven or eight teams in each division. In the Wild's would be Winnipeg, St. Louis, Dallas, Nashville, Chicago, and ... Columbus or Detroit.

That concept has since blown up.

Rumors out of the recent Board of Governors meeting are that Bettman went around the room and at least 12 of 15 Eastern Conference teams essentially said they'd vote against anything that would disrupt their divisional alignment.

After all, everybody's always in it for themselves -- not the good of the league.

Considering 20 of 30 teams must approve realignment, Bettman realized that radical realignment was impossible. The less upheaval created would be the only way to get realignment approved.

As reported last week by TSN's Bob McKenzie, it appears Detroit will move to the Eastern Conference and replace Atlanta in the Southeast Division.

A huge draw, the Red Wings are typically on national television more than anyone. That comes out of owner Mike Ilitch's local TV revenue, and that money must be reimbursed to Fox Sports Detroit at nearly $25,000 a game.

Ilitch has done this about 15 times a year for the last 15 years. Having been the good soldier, this would be payback so to speak.

So the question becomes: Who replaces Detroit in the Central?

This is where the fiery debates begin.

Leipold wants it to be the Wild. The Dallas Stars want it to be them.

The problem with Dallas moving to the Central is somebody would have to replace Dallas in the Pacific. That obviously would be Colorado, and the Wild does not want to be the only U.S.-based team in an all Canadian division (includes Winnipeg).

The most logical move geographically would be to move Minnesota.

Do that, and now Colorado's upset because it's the only U.S.-based team in an all-Canadian division. Do that, and now Dallas is upset because it continues to be stuck in a Pacific Division with three California foes.

That's why it's being reported the easiest solution might be moving Winnipeg to the Central.

Leipold can't comment on realignment, but you can bet that would tick him off.

He wants to move to the Central because: 1) Better geographical rivalries; 2) shorter flights; 3) fiscally more desirable; 4) less occasions the team has to clear customs; 5) earlier start times, meaning schoolchildren and working adults could actually watch Wild road games on TV.

You can't argue with the Wild's logic. Frankly, it wins on all the arguments. Colorado and Dallas could claim the same thing.

There are going to be winners and losers in any version of realignment. It's too complex to please everybody.

But if you know anything about Leipold, you can bet he's still fighting the fight. From a Wild fan's perspective, pray the NHL sees his logic.

Why? Because as those Eastern teams proved, everybody's always in it for themselves.

And since 25 other teams wouldn't be affected by the Wild moving to the Central, you know the Wild would easily get the two-thirds majority at the December Board of Governors meeting in Palm Springs.

  • related content

  • The Wild's week ahead

    Sunday October 16, 2011

    Tuesday: vs. Pittsburgh, 6:30 p.m. (VS.). Thursday: at Edmonton, 8:30 p.m. (FSN). Saturday: at Vancouver, 3 p.m. (FSN)Player to watch:...

  • Michael Russo's short takes: Oct. 16

    Sunday October 16, 2011

    An important seasonDevils captain Zach Parise is coming off right knee surgery and is in the final year of his...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 8 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: E. Volquez 0
Minnesota 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 1 FINAL
Buffalo 6
Carolina 3 FINAL
Columbus 6
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL
Detroit 0
Montreal 3 FINAL
Chicago 1
Arizona 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Hamilton 10/10/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Ottawa 10/11/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close