Insider: NHL Realignment Talk, Morning Skate Notes

One of the big off ice story lines that has started to develop over the course of the NHL season has been talk of realignment. The idea, which was proposed last season, but was shot down because of some concerns with the NHLPA, will have to be resolved in some way during the next few months in order to get the Winnipeg Jets out of the Southeast Division. How re-alignment ultimately gets done could play a big part in what the Lightning’s schedule looks like next season. The Lightning, under last years failed plan, was supposed to be in a conference with Buffalo, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and Florida.

“As a players association, we are always open to new things,” said Adam Hall, the Lightning’s NHLPA player representative. “Regarding the situation that happened last season, I think it was a request from the PA that they wanted some scheduling examples or models how scheduling and travel would work for certain teams, and then it just kind of didn’t move past that point, regarding how scheduling and travel would work.  Other than that, I think it all depends on the experts and how they view the upcoming seasons and realignment, as far as our division would probably be affected with Winnipeg, so it will definitely be interesting to see.”

Still, playing in a conference that would see the team travel as much as the Lightning could just may possibly put the two Florida teams at a significant disadvantage, no?

“You want to play all the teams in the league,” Hall said. “Personally, I think it would be fun to play every team every year. It takes a lot of coordination to do that. This is obviously a shortened season because of the lockout. There are a lot of travel issues, and a lot of scheduling issues that need to be addressed. I just think that’s something, that if it needs to be adjusted, the two sides sit down and figure it out if need be.”

More from the morning skate:

Head coach Guy Boucher said Anders Lindback would get the start in goal tonight. For Lindback, it will be his third straight start and first career start against Boston. Boucher said he did not know what the rest of the lineup would look like tonight, as there was an undisclosed player sick. Some players had the morning skate off to rest, according to the team. Among the players not skating this morning was Vincent Lecavalier. Lightning forward Ryan Malone, out with a lower body issue, was skating before the rest of the team took to the ice for the morning skate. Tuukka Rask is the expected starter for the Boston Bruins tonight, and he has not played well historically against the Lightning. Rask is 1-2-0 with a 4.07 goals against average and a .865 save percentage against the Lightning in three career games played.