As the NHL undergoes its biggest structural realignment in 15 years, there may be no team that is more affected by it than the Detroit Red Wings.
Since 1981, the Red Wings have called the Western Conference -- formerly the Campbell Conference -- home, but as the League shifts to a new four-division format, Detroit is one of three teams, along with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Winnipeg Jets, changing conferences.
The move is a mixed bag for Detroit, which waves goodbye to several strong geographic rivalries, most notably the NHL's longest-running grudge match with the Chicago Blackhawks. But the loss of quick regional trips to Chicago, St. Louis or Nashville is going to be offset by no longer having to take multiple trips out west to face the likes of Vancouver or Los Angeles. Those treks to the Pacific Division were a bigger burden on the team than it might have seemed, given that Detroit is in the Eastern time zone and would play a significant chunk of its schedule at 10 p.m. ET or later, making it difficult for fans to watch midweek contests through to the end.