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Originally published Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 9:25 PM

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NHL approves realignment plan gives three teams new conferences

The NHL map is finally in order with Detroit and Columbus heading east, and Winnipeg moving west. "We're thrilled, absolutely thrilled,"...

The Associated Press

The NHL hasn't decided on names for the new divisions/conferences in their realignment... MORE

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The NHL map is finally in order with Detroit and Columbus heading east, and Winnipeg moving west.

"We're thrilled, absolutely thrilled," Blue Jackets executive John Davidson said on a telephone conference call Thursday, shortly after the realignment plan was approved in a vote by the league's board of governors. "We tend to use the (term) common sense around here. This seems to make a lot of common sense."

The new format goes into effect next season, and will feature two eight-team divisions in the Eastern Conference, including the Red Wings and Blue Jackets. The Jets will now be part of a Western Conference that's made up of two seven-team divisions.

It's a plan commissioner Gary Bettman called "fan-friendly," because it aligns teams by divisions that are mostly in the same time zones. Bettman said it re-establishes numerous rivalries by geography and tradition.

Detroit returns to the East in a yet-to-be named division that will feature three other Original Six franchises, Toronto, Boston and Montreal. And Winnipeg is now part of a central-based division after having spent the past two years playing in the Southeast.

Notes

Andrew Ebbett and Jannik Hansen both had a goal and two assists as the Vancouver Canucks beat visiting Nashville 7-4 on Thursday night. Alex Edler, Mason Raymond, Max Lapierre, Henrik Sedin (on a penalty shot) and David Booth (into an empty net) also scored for the Canucks, who won their second straight. Roberto Luongo finished with 29 saves.

• Buffalo Sabres defenseman Alexander Sulzer will miss the rest of the season after having surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right knee. Sulzer had missed eight games since being hurt on Feb. 23. He had three goals and an assist in 17 games this season.

• Tampa Bay Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier is out indefinitely because of an undisclosed lower body injury.

• The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired defenseman Kevin Marshall from the Washington Capitals for forward Nicolas Deschamps.

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