During the coming years, I'm sure there will be at least a few unintended consequences that will grab our attention. Despite the best intentions, those type of things just happen.
The new alignment does, however, address the concerns of several clubs.
"We're ecstatic," said Stars President Jim Lites. "We're where we should be."
That sentiment was shared by executives in Detroit, Minnesota, Columbus and Nashville, just to name the most obvious beneficiaries of the new conference structure.
Here's hoping they'll be feeling as good about things three or four years from now as they do today. That's when we'll be in a much better position to judge just how smart this change really turned out to be.
Here's the Tuesday 10:
The Canucks are getting a lot done on the power play, converting a league-best 26.4 percent of their chances. That’s nearly five full percentage points better than the next best extra-man unit (Toronto, 21.7).
As always, Daniel and Henrik Sedin key the unit's success. The Sedin twins are tied (no surprise there, eh?) for the League lead with 16 power-play points each.
The Canucks' power play has been particularly dangerous recently, scoring at least one power-play goal in each of the last five games. In that span, they've scored eight power-play goals on 24 chances.
Tonight in Columbus, against the League’s worst penalty-killing unit (73.7 percent), the Canucks' power play figures to keep the good times rolling.
SOG: 69 | +/-: -5
Defensemen Anton Volchenkov, Henrik Tallinder and Bryce Salvador anchor the penalty-kill unit, while veteran forwards Patrik Elias, Dainius Zubrus and Zach Parise are among those who work the top of the box.
In the short term, coach Peter DeBoer will have to get by without Volchenkov, who was placed on injured reserve after suffering a hand injury against the Senators last Thursday. The injury isn't thought to be serious; nonetheless, he won't be available when the Devils complete their Florida double dip against the Panthers tonight.
Florida's power play, led by puck-moving defenseman Brian Campbell, is eighth in the League (19.2 percent). The Devils will have to shut it down if they expect to leave town with a win.
Coach Todd McLellan believes his team will improve in that area as the season goes on.
"We're going to keep doing what we're doing," McLellan told the San Jose Mercury News. "Positionally, we've got to be a little bit better."
The Sharks probably could use a few more shorthanded saves from top goalie Antti Niemi, who has an .848 save percentage in those situations. That ranks him 51st in the League.
SOG: 39 | +/-: -12
Gauthier might have another motive for acquiring an underachieving player who carries another two full seasons on his contract at a cap hit of $4.25 million. Gauthier might see the move as insurance against further delays in the return of oft-injured defenseman Andrei Markov, who had to abort a planned early December return to have yet another procedure on his knee.
Whatever his reasoning, Gauthier seems out on a bit of limb on this deal. If Kaberle doesn't rediscover his former form, Gauthier could face the music himself come the spring.
In the long run, I figure both players will be better for the experience. Connolly should add some scoring punch for Team Canada, while Smith-Pelly will bring additional size and grit to the lineup.
In Washington, for example, defenseman Jeff Schultz is feeling the impact of the club's decision to replace Bruce Boudreau with Dale Hunter.
SOG: 13 | +/-: 1
In the six games since the coaching change, Schultz has been a healthy scratch twice and he played just 3:55 in a 5-3 win against the Senators on Dec. 7.
Apparently, Hunter hasn't been impressed with Schultz's foot speed, and he'd like to see the 6-foot-6 230-pounder play more of a physical game.
Somewhere down the road, however, I won't be surprised at all if Schultz gets a ticket to rejoin his old coach, Boudreau, in Anaheim. Unless there's a significant turnaround, he seems to be collateral damage in the coaching change.
The smooth-skating Del Zotto leads Rangers defensemen with 14 points and has a team-best plus-15 rating. Coach John Tortorella is trusting the 21-year-old with more than 22 minutes of ice time per game.
At this time last season, Del Zotto was going through a difficult second season. The club's 2008 first-round pick (No. 20), Del Zotto re-established himself this season in training camp. He impressed Tortorella with a more consistent and mature approach, and he's been rewarded with a key spot on the Rangers' blue line.
Entering Tuesday's game against the Penguins, the Wings and Sharks each have fired a League-best average of 34.2 shots per game. Meanwhile, the Wings are allowing just 27.5 shots per game, second-fewest in the League. On average, that's nearly seven more shots per game.
Over the course of an 82-game season, if those numbers were to hold up, the Wings would get roughly 500 more shots on goal than their opponents. I'd say that would give you a much better chance to win.