NHL Realignment: Dallas Stars Touted As 'Winners' In Radical New Lineup

DALLAS TX - FEBRUARY 11: The Dallas Stars celebrate the overtime win against the Chicago Blackhawks at American Airlines Center on February 11 2011 in Dallas Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The NHL has officially blown up their standard division / conference system and sent Dallas home to the Central Time Zone

After months of speculation and a long-held desire to move as far east as possible, the Dallas Stars have emerged as a huge winner in the NHL's total overhaul of their team alignments. 

The league announced Tuesday that it was scrapping the two-conference, six-division system in favor of four unique conferences created to appease travel concerns and time zone issues for the Stars (who are currently relegated to a division filled with Pacific Time Zone clubs) as well as a host of other concerns (competitive balance, historic rivalries, the saga of the Phoenix Coyotes, etc.) across the NHL. 

New owner Tom Gaglardi gushed to the media that his franchise got exactly what they wanted: 

"I'm not sure we're not the biggest winner in the whole league," Gaglardi said in a phone interview early Tuesday morning. "I feel pretty wonderful. It's something I've chased ever since I started to chase ownership of the Stars. It's a great day for Dallas."

What the Stars got was a reprieve from the west coast: The most notable aspect of the realignment for Dallas is that they'll be grouped with teams closer to the Metroplex in the Central Time Zone, meaning countless puck drops of 9 p.m. or later local time will be largely eliminated. Dallas will join Nashville, Detroit, Chicago, Minnesota, Columbus, St. Louis and Winnipeg, with each team playing six times a year in a "central" grouping (the conferences have not yet been named). Contrast that with the Stars' current home in the Pacific Division with San Jose, Los Angeles, Anaheim and Phoenix, all of whom will go to the "west" grouping.

For more on NHL realignment, check out SB Nation's NHL page. For everything Stars, visitDefending Big D.

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