With realignment on NHL's agenda, Wild longs for the Midwest

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 4, 2011 - 11:59 PM

Tired of traveling to the Western time zones for most of its road games, the Wild is hoping the league will adopt this week a four-conference plan.


Wild coach Mike Yeo would welcome the chance to play more road games in the Central time zone.

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

ANAHEIM, CALIF. - Not that realignment will go in the Wild's favor and it'll end up in an old-Norris-like Division, but if anybody would like the Wild to take fewer trips to Canada, it's Mike Yeo.

The Wild coach, a Canadian citizen, is in the process of getting his green card, so every time he crosses the border, Yeo is directed into a special room for further questioning, paperwork and rubber stamps.

"The worst part is I'm holding everybody up," Yeo said.

On Monday and Tuesday in Pebble Beach, the Board of Governors will gather to discuss and potentially vote on a realignment plan for the 2012-13 season.

There appear to be two possibilities -- one simple, one radical. The easiest thing, and the one that has the best chance of passing, is to move Winnipeg into the Central Division and Detroit into the Southeast. The most radical, and the one the Wild endorses, is a four-conference plan made up of seven or eight teams in each conference

The Wild's conference would also include Winnipeg, St. Louis, Dallas, Nashville, Chicago and Columbus. Wild owner Craig Leipold has been persistent in his wish to get the Wild out of the Northwest.

The reasons? 1) Better geographical rivalries; 2) shorter flights; 3) fiscally more desirable; 4) fewer times through customs; 5) earlier start times, meaning fans can watch more road games on TV.

But it takes 20 teams to get any realignment plan approved, so many believe the less upheaval created, the easier it will be to realign.

So the Wild could very well be left disappointed, but Leipold hopes not.

"I think all the Western Conference teams would vote for [the four-conference format]," Leipold said. "It works to their benefit and I think there are enough Eastern Conference governors that will frankly do the right thing for the NHL.

"We get five or six from the Eastern Conference, and it should pass. There would be a lot of winners if that were the case -- teams, fans and the NHL."

Yeo agrees with Leipold that the Wild should be out of the Northwest.

"We haven't played one road game in our own time zone yet. How amazing is that?" Yeo said.

"It just makes no sense," Leipold said.

Yeo added: "Think of how many times we go into Canada compared to other divisions. Most teams get security checks at the rink and zip, right to the plane. We're a half-hour, an hour -- at least, if not more -- through customs. That doesn't sound like much, but that's a big deal when the amount of sleep the players need is already in short supply."

The Wild's first road game in the Central time zone is Dec. 13 in Winnipeg (ironically, an Eastern Conference team). That is 16 road games into the Wild's 41-road game schedule.

Yeo spent five seasons as an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"You're traveling longer distances in the Northwest Division and you're bouncing from time zone to time zone," Yeo said. "But also, your trips are longer. Pittsburgh, you go play one, two road games and then come back home for two. Here it seems you play four or five at home, then four or five on the road."

Added defenseman Nick Schultz, who has spent his whole career in the Northwest, "This is all I know, but I know it's pretty wearing being in the Northwest, and the fans seem to love when Chicago and St. Louis come to Minnesota."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Kansas City 1 Bottom 5th Inning
San Francisco 0
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Dallas 117 FINAL
Orlando 92
New York 57 4th Qtr 12:00
Toronto 63
San Antonio 47 3rd Qtr 7:04
Houston 61
Miami 56 3rd Qtr 11:01
Memphis 48
Minnesota 75 3rd Qtr 4:15
Chicago 84
Phoenix 20 1st Qtr 2:34
Utah 28
Sacramento 9:00 PM
LA Lakers
Denver 9:30 PM
Golden State
Portland 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Dallas 2 3rd Prd 12:14
New Jersey 1
Tampa Bay 3 2nd Prd 5:07
Winnipeg 1
Vancouver 1 1st Prd 5:32
Colorado 1
Carolina 8:30 PM
Columbus 9:00 PM
Connecticut 21 FINAL
(18) East Carolina 31
Miami-Florida 30 FINAL
Virginia Tech 6
So Florida 3 3rd Qtr 3:04
Cincinnati 20
Troy 6 3rd Qtr 9:33
South Alabama 10
BYU 0 1st Qtr 4:12
Boise State 10
(6) Oregon 9:00 PM
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Houston 1 2nd Half 40:00
Chicago 0
Montreal 23 1:33
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 8:30 PM
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite Wild player?

Weekly Question