The four conference realignment topic has made a comeback. A Puck Daddy post yesterday included a CBC video (first two minutes or so focus on the realignment issue) in which analyst Elliotte Friedman reported a four conference realignment that is apparently gaining steam despite TSN's Bob McKenzie's report earlier this month that a six division NHL may be here to stay.
The proposal is to align like this...
(Division names are my assumptions, as they are omitted from the graphic in the video)
Pacific: ANA, CGY, COL, EDM, LA, PHX, SJ, VAN
Central: CHI, CLB/DET, DAL, MIN, NSH, STL, WPG
Northeast: BOS, BUF, CLB/DET, MTL, OTW, PIT, TOR
Atlantic: CAR, FLA, NJ, NYI, NYR, PHI, TBY, WSH
Each team would play home-and-home against each team outside of the division (44 or 46 games), and the rest of the games would be divided among division opponents (38 or 36 games).
As a fan of the Western Conference team, I think realigning the Western Conference into two divisions along the lines of the proposal above makes all the sense in the world. For most teams, they would cut the road games that start at 9pm or later local time by at least half, which would be great for TV.
The problem is there is no good geographic way to split the Eastern Conference in such a way without separating someone in the Atlantic Division. The proposal above seems to split Pittsburgh from all of their rivals.