07:25 PM ET 02.11 | The NHL just experienced one of the worst work stoppages in the history of the game. Sure, the 2004-05 work stoppage wiped out an entire season, but the timing of this most recent lockout couldn't have been worse. A team from Los Angeles had just won the Stanley Cup, and anytime you get a winner in L.A., you're in for some real popularity. But the NHL, in its infinite wisdom, decided they didn't want to be popular and got themselves into a bitter lockout that has shortened the season and killed the momentum it had going. Not all is lost though, as some careful re-organizing and possibly some expansion can put the NHL right back on track and get it back to being one of the most popular sports in America. NHL realignment has been discussed in the past but nothing has come of it yet. While it seems like a mundane thing, realignment might be the saving grace hockey needs to make sure it's relevant and prominent in homes all over North America.