Re­align­ment win­ners and losers

- Mike Brehm Sports · College Sports · Ice Hockey · NHL Hockey · National Hockey League · United States of America · New York City · Philadelphia · Pittsburgh · Washington · Edmonton · Calgary · Detroit · Tampa Bay Lightning · Stanley · Boston Bruins · Boston · Montreal · Buffalo · Toronto · Toronto Maple Leafs · St. Louis Blues · Vegas Golden Knights · Western Conference (NHL) · St. Louis, OK · Colorado · New York Islanders · Philadelphia Flyers · Sidney Crosby · Alexander Ovechkin · Connor McDavid · Ottawa · Texas Rangers · Rochester Red Wings

The NHL is ready for a 56-game reg­u­lar-sea­son start Wed­nes­day and will have a new, tem­po­rary look.

Be­cause of re­stric­tions on move­ment across the U.S.-Canada bor­der, the league set up an all-Canada divi­sion and re­aligned the other di­vi­sions, which all have spon­sored names.

The top four in each divi­sion will make the play­offs.

All reg­u­lar-sea­son games and the first two rounds of the play­offs will be played within the divi­sion.

So who won and who lost in re­align­ment?

Win­ners: Ri­val­ries. The NHL kept most of them in­tact, par­tic­u­larly the three New York-area teams and Philadel­phia, Pitts­burgh and Washington from the Metropoli­tan Divi­sion, and the Cana­dian ri­val­ries of Toron­toMon­treal and Ed­mon­ton-Calgary. 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 an en­ter­tain­ing Stan­ley Cup Fi­nal, will face each other eight times, rather than the usual two.

Losers: Ri­val­ries. Sev­eral Cana­dian teams have big ri­val­ries with U.S. teams, and those won’t hap­pen. So no Bos­ton-Montreal or the Buf­falo-Toronto matchup that brings hosts of Maple Leafs fans across the bor­der to New York.

Win­ners: Blues and Avalanche. In their new divi­sion, only the Golden Knights were among the top eight in the West­ern Con­fer­ence last sea­son, and the Ducks, Kings and Sharks were at the bot­tom. St. Louis and Colorado should con­tinue to thrive, and they won’t have to face the teams that knocked them out of the play­offs.

Losers: 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 rookie sea­son in 2005-06.

Win­ners: Light­ning. The de­fend­ing Stan­ley Cup cham­pi­ons no longer have the Bruins in their divi­sion. Of the teams in this sea­son’s divi­sion, only the Stars got within 10 points of the Light­ning’s 92 points last sea­son.

Losers: Star gaz­ers. The di­vi­siononly for­mat means Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Con­nor Mc­David and other stars will be seen by fewer teams. And any player who changed di­vi­sions won’t get to face his for­mer team.

Win­ners: Cana­dian fans. The al­lCanada divi­sion will be loved up north, and other than Ot­tawa, any team could make the play­offs. Plus, the play­off for­mat guar­an­tees that a Cana­dian team will make the semi­fi­nals, one round from the Stan­ley Cup Fi­nal. No Cana­dian team has reached the Fi­nal since the Canucks in 2011.

Losers: Sleepy fans. Last sea­son, Blues and Wild divi­sion road games were mostly in the Cen­tral Time Zone. Now, their fans will have to stay up later. Cana­di­ens, Maple Leafs and Se­na­tors fans will also have a bunch of later games.

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