|An impromptu street party in the 'peg last night - Photo taken by Gord Barnsley|
What I find most interesting, though, is that the writer of that Globe and Mail piece, Stephen Brunt, clearly has a seat in the front of the class in the hockey media world. His work apparently is highly respected by his peers. This, of course, makes it near-impossible for the media types to swarm in with the "This is garbage" stuff that it sure looked like they wanted to write.
And then, there's Brunt himself. With a listless Boston-Tampa playoff game on mute, I caught interviews with Brunt on sports talk radio in both Winnipeg and Toronto...AFTER the flood of second-guessing "denials" came out. Brunt had plenty of opportunities to walk the article back. But he didn't. In fact, he dug in, saying that the deal is done, that it's just a matter of time before the announcement is made. (He did say that the projected Tuesday appearance of Commissioner Bettman in Winnipeg might not happen now that the story is out in the open.)
Then, this morning, Brunt went on XM Home Ice's "Hockey This Morning" and stuck to his guns. He THEN appeared on XM's lunch-hour "Breakaway" show (here's a link to the interview) and not only stuck to the story but added some nuance. (And he also wisely has been putting parameters on his knowledge of the Atlanta-to-Winnipeg situation in the interviews, with lots of "I don't know" and "I have no idea" caveats...which, in my opinion makes the stuff he IS reporting and the stuff that he IS speaking on all the more credible.)
|Party on, eh? - Photo taken by Illegal Curve|
So where does that leave the Columbus Blue Jackets? Well, the St. Paul Pioneer-Press reported that a three-way shuffle was going to happen, with Winnipeg to the Northwest, Minnesota to the Central and Columbus to the Southeast. The Dispatch's reporter on NHL realignment has been walking back his Sunday story that suggested a Southeast division move for the Blue Jackets was possible (likely?) this season. And no one, Brunt included, is speaking with any authority on the matter. The radio hosts who have been interviewing Brunt also have no clue on realignment.
So we're left where we were, crossing our fingers. But I honestly believe that, at this particular moment in time, the Atlanta-to-Winnipeg move is going to happen.
Now, can the Blue Jackets make the move to the Eastern Conference happen - whenever realignment takes place?
[UPDATE: The Hockey News' Ken Campbell does nothing to dispell this story in his online column.]