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On first glance, Crosby likes realignment plan

Monday, 12.05.2011 / 10:56 PM / NHL Insider

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On first glance, Crosby likes realignment plan
Sidney Crosby didn't have much time to digest a complicated realignment plan passed by the NHL Board of Governors on Monday night.
Sidney Crosby didn't have much time to digest a complicated realignment plan passed by the NHL Board of Governors on Monday night.

But, his initial take, just moments after his Pittsburgh Penguins suffered a 3-1 loss to the Boston Bruins at Consol Energy Center, was a positive one.

"I think that's pretty much what we're used to except we're adding a couple of teams," Crosby said. "I don't think it's that big of a deal. I think everyone's probably happy with that. Washington's a pretty good rival... I don't see anyone being disappointed about this."

While the Bruins and the Penguins were battling in a top-of-the-Eastern-Conference showdown, the governors were busy remaking the NHL landscape. Their radical plan scraps the two-conference, six-division format and replaces it with a four-conference setup that will feature two seven-team conferences and two eight-team conferences.

Sidney Crosby
Center - PIT
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 10 | PTS: 12
SOG: 31 | +/-: 7
Pittsburgh will be in one of the seven-game conferences, sharing space with Carolina, New Jersey, the New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers and Capitals. The top four teams from each yet-to-be named conference will make the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

One facet of this system, which still must be implemented in consultation with the NHLPA, is that division rivalries will carry over into the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"I think in the playoffs you don't really need any extra incentive, but I think, if anything, it might add a little more excitement for the fans," Crosby said. "They're more familiar with the teams and the matchups and that kind of thing, but I don't think as far as rivalries peak, as far as if we're talking teams we call rivals, I don't think it can get any bigger than it already is, but I think it's nice for people to see those matchups."

He also thinks it is nice that the Penguins will play their conference foes six times per season. That means six games against the rival Capitals, six games against the Rangers and six games against the Flyers, perhaps the team's most intense rival.

"That's been our great rivals for a long time, so the fact they can stay in our division is probably good for everyone from the two teams and for their fans, obviously," he said.

Another aspect of this new alignment, however, also assures that the Penguins -- and each NHL team -- will host every other team in a home-and-home series. The ability for Penguins fans to see any of the league's 29 other franchises at Consol Energy Center pleases Crosby, as does the opportunity to visit each franchise every season.

"I think any player will tell you it's fun to go to some places you don't always go to, and we'll get that opportunity," Crosby said. "I think it's a good thing."
Quote of the Day

We want to make sure that whoever makes our team really makes our team by earning it and not putting them in situations where they get preference because of their status as a first-round pick or whatever it might be. That's not going to happen. Everybody has to earn their way on our team.

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