The NHL is back. Here are the winners, losers of realignment for 2021 season.
The NHL is gearing up to kick off a 56-game season on January 13 and is set to get a new, temporary look.
Due to restrictions on movement across the US-Canada border, the NHL is establishing an All-Canada division and realigning the other divisions.
The first four in each division will make the playoffs. All regular season games and the first two rounds of the playoffs are played within the division.
This is how they look:
North - Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, and Winnipeg Jets
East - Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabers, New Jersey Devils, New York Islander, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyer, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Washington Capitals
Central Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators, and Tampa Bay Lightning
West - Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, and Vegas Golden Knights
DETAILS: NHL Announces Plans for 56 Game Season
NHL stars Sidney Crosby (Penguins) and Alex Ovechkin (Capitals) will play against each other more this year, but fans across the league won't see them as often in this format.
Realignment winners and losers
Winner: rivalries. The NHL kept most of them intact, particularly the Metropolitan Division's three teams from the New York and Philadelphia area, Pittsburgh and Washington, and the Toronto-Montreal and Edmonton-Calgary Canadian rivalries. Chicago and Detroit are back together for the first time since the Red Wings moved east in 2013. The Stars and Lightning, who played in a fun Stanley Cup final, face each other eight times rather than the usual two.
Losers: rivalries. Several Canadian teams have major rivalries with US teams, and that won't happen. So no Boston-Montreal or Buffalo-Toronto matchup that brings many Maple Leafs fans across the border.
Winner: Blues and Avalanche. In their new division, only the Golden Knights were in the top eight of the Western Conference last season, and the ducks, kings and sharks were at the bottom. St. Louis and Colorado should continue to thrive and not face the teams that knocked them out of the playoffs.
Loser: penguins. With the Bruins joining a division that includes the Islanders, Flyers and Capitals, Pittsburgh could miss the playoffs for the first time since Sidney Crosby's 2005-06 rookie season.
Winner: Blitz. The defending Stanley Cup champion no longer has the Bruins in his division. Of the teams in the division this season, only the Stars scored 10 points less than the 92 points of the Blitz last season.
Loser: Stargazers. The division-only format means that Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Connor McDavid, and other stars will be seen by fewer teams. And every player who has changed the division cannot face his old team.
Winner: Canadian fans. The All Canada division is loved in the north, and any team except Ottawa could make the playoffs. In addition, the playoff format guarantees that a Canadian team will reach the semi-finals, one round before the Stanley Cup final. No Canadian team has reached the finals since the Canucks 2011.
Losers: Sleepy fans. Last season, the street games of the Blues and Wild division took place mainly in the central time zone. Now her fans have to stay up later. Canadiens, Maple Leafs, and Senators fans will also have some later games.
This article originally appeared in the US TODAY: NHL is back with new sections. Winner, loser in realignment
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