Inside the NHL: Division realignment will be bad news for the Sabres

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It looks like Jack Eichel, left, and Sam Reinhart won’t be able to disappoint Leafs fans who trek to KeyBank Center this season. 

James P. McCoy/Buffalo News

Mike Harrington

We’re at mid-November now and the NHL remains in limbo. The party line is Jan. 1 is the target for a start date, although that gets more dubious in this view by the day, both in mere execution and dealing with protocols related to the pandemic.

The devil might be in all the details, whenever they’re announced, but one thing that seems quite clear is temporary realignment is coming this season and it’s going to feature a Canadian division.

If you’re thinking about the Sabres breaking their ghastly playoff drought, this is unquestionably bad news.

From an entertainment standpoint with teams not expected to cross the border, we’ll certainly miss games against Montreal and Toronto as well as the two Jack Eichel/Connor McDavid showdowns and the pair of Rasmus Dahlin/Elias Pettersson matchups when Buffalo meets Edmonton and Vancouver, respectively.

From a television standpoint when it comes to the league’s megadeal with Sportsnet, the competition could be fierce.

“If that is the case, an all-Canadian division, I think it would be pretty unique,” Montreal winger Brendan Gallagher told the Canadian Press. “Pretty neat you get to see those other teams a little bit more and have an appreciation for what they do. And at the…

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