It's now been 10 years since the NHL took away my favorite rivalry. Competition for the same objective or for superiority in the same field is literally the definition of the word rivalry. Do we have this with Winnieg, Dallas, or Colorado? No not really, to be honest I rarely think of those teams. I even have to remind myself they are in the Hawks division at times.
Detroit plays 2 Florida teams, 3 Canadian teams, the Bruins and the Sabres... not really alot of history there (some though). Only 4 of the Wings 11 cups came after the 1967 expansion and so some of these teams weren't even around to see the great teams of old that Motor City iced.
From my childhood at least, it was red versus red in an under 300 mile drive on I-94. It was the shocking trade of our beloved Chris Chelios to our hated neighbor. It was Brent Seabrook's OT winner 10 years ago (season before realignment, which made it still feel extended and alive) that I remember.
It was Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Hasek, Yzerman, Federov, and Lidstrom coming into town on a bus knowing there will be loud boos and "Detroit Sucks" chants all night.
Now a days, young fans that are coming into the UC only know "stories" of how it once was. Sure, we still have the Blues in the stadium as a division rival, but it was always the Wings that got most of our tempers flared when the two teams hit the ice for a night game tilt.
If you look at the realignment, you see their divisions (later named) A-D and you do see how they alloted them in terms of travel. Division "D" especially made sense as Carolina, Columbus, New Jersey, NYI / NYR, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Washington all were grouped tightly geographically speaking. It's more of a blurred line when it comes to "B" and "C" and very difficult to see Chicago and Detroit so close together only to be seperated.
The timelines currently for said teams also lines up in my opinion. The Red Wings have a bevy of top tier talent having drafted a ton of 1st rounders in the past few drafts. From forwards, defenseman, and goalies Detroit looks like they will sport one of the better rosters in the upcoming years. Chicago as well, having just drafted #1 overall pick Connor Bedard, will see all of their highly drafted players come of age and start to matriculate to the league soon. It couldn't be better timing than to have these two in the same division.
While I don't see a realignment coming in the near future, when and if that day does come... let's make Detroit Sucks a thing on a more regular basis please NHL.