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.
SOG: 31 | +/-: 7
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."