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NHL Realignment: Penguins, Flyers United Against Proposed Plan

A radical new realignment plan to move the Penguins into a completely different division has Pennsylvania's two hockey teams united against it.

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The NHL is talking about divisional realignment for the 2012-2013 season, and the key realignment plan right now has a pair of unlikely allies - the Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers - united against it.

You can read about the alignment plan here. Essentially, the plan would create four divisions, and would put the Penguins and their Atlantic Division rivals the Flyers (and Capitals) in separate divisions. The Pens would move into a division with the Bruins, Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Sabres, Senators and either the Blue Jackets or Red Wings. The Flyers and Caps, meanwhile, would play with the Rangers, Islanders, Devils, Panthers, Lightning and Hurricanes.

The realignment plan makes sense for a lot of teams - the Western divisions look great, and the Jets would get to play in a geographically-appropriate division. Unfortunately, it doesn't make a lot of sense for the Pens or the Flyers, who would only play each other twice a year.

The Penguins would support a less-radical realignment plan that would move the Jets to the Western Conference and some other team (the Blue Jackets, perhaps) to the Eastern Conference. The Flyers, meanwhile, are standing behind the Pens.

"We are in 100 percent agreement with the Pittsburgh Penguins," said Flyers President Peter Luukko, who is also on the NHL Board of Governors. "We are in close communication with them on this subject. This is a big rivalry that means a lot not only to us as a franchise, but to our fans, their fans, and the entire state of Pennsylvania."

We'll see what happens. Two-thirds of NHL teams would need to approve the plan. The proposed realignment might not be awful for Pens fans, particularly, not if the Red Wings joined their division. But it does seem to be a step in the wrong direction.

For more on the Penguins, check out PensBurgh.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.