The tantalizing prospect that the Red Wings may return to the Eastern Conference of the NHL, where worn, battered and bruised bodies can sometimes rest during the season and, believe it or not, even in the Stanley Cup playoffs, was enough to displace the Wings ending a five-game winless streak as big news over the weekend.

Playing the Canadiens, Maple Leafs and Bruins several times each season is equivalent to the stars returning to alignment for some fans.

Fewer West Coast and western Canada trips for the players might lead to more success in the standings and playoffs, longer, more successful careers and happier young families. Little wonder that when they were informed Saturday of a report about the proposal by reporters, the Wings seemed almost happier about the plan than winning in regulation for the first time since Feb. 10 — and then winning again by defeating the streaking Canucks.

Fans would not need to stay awake until 2 a.m. to see overtime victories for the Red Wings in the playoffs against teams like the Canucks and Kings.

The problem with all the happiness is that it could be illusory, once again, as it was a year ago when the league announced a realignment scheme far less beneficial to the Red Wings, but without checking with the players union, which rejected it.

A proposal, even one reported by the credible Elliotte Friedman of the CBC, is only a proposal.

The issues must be resolved by the same officials who brought you yet another owners' lockout, distressed NHL finances despite record revenues and the epic ownership fiascos in Phoenix and Atlanta.

Both the NHL Board of Governors and the NHL players' association must vote to approve realignment.

From The Detroit News: