The NHL BOG on Thursday officially approved divisional realignment for the '13-14 season by a 28-2 vote, according to sources cited by Mike Zeisberger of QMI AGENCY. As a result of the realignment, the Panthers and Lightning both will see an increase in the "travel they'll endure from their present situation in the Southeast Division." The teams will now will "be joining a division with northern-based teams" like the Red Wings, Sabres, Bruins, Senators, Maple Leafs and Canadiens (QMI AGENCY, 3/14). The GLOBE & MAIL's David Shoalts notes while the Panthers and Lightning are "not thrilled to be leaving the former Southeast Division," it is expected that they should "boost ticket sales among the snowbirds from Canada and the northern United States." NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman: "There were things in this plan that teams liked and some teams don't like." Bettman said it was a "collaborative" process. He added, "From a business standpoint, this is probably real good for both (Florida) teams" (GLOBE & MAIL, 3/15). Bettman said the "unique geography of Florida" made this option make the most sense (WASHINGTONTIMES.com, 3/14).
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