If reports of new NHL realignment come to pass, the Chicago Blackhawks will be separated from Original Six rival Detroit Red Wings beginning next season.

According to ESPN, in the proposed alignment -- which still would need approval from the NHLPA and NHL's Board of Governors -- the Hawks would remain in the Western Conference while the Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets would shift to the Eastern Conference.

Teams would play home and away games against every other team in the league so the Hawks and Wings would still face each other, just not nearly as many times as previous seasons. The Central Division foes have four showdowns during this lockout-shortened season, including Sunday in Detroit, but normally face off six times during a campaign.

The Hawks and Wings have met 722 times during the regular season since the NHL began with six teams.

Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said even if the teams play in different conferences, the rivalry will remain.

"It's a team that (has) always been tough to contend with every single year," Quenneville said of the Wings. "It's a powerhouse organization. Over the course of time here they've been dominating a lot of time.

"The rivalry, I still don't think it will go away," Quenneville added. "If it does happen that they're on the other side, ... the Blackhawks and Detroit will always be a special rivalry and a special game." - See more at: http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/breaking/chi-blackhawks-red-wings-realignment-20130226,0,4934764.story#sthash.X8eojISN.dpuf