It’s looking like the National Hockey League will take a whole new look next season. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (right) & the Board of Governors for the NHL approved yesterday a new 4 conference league.
This alignment looks like what the NHL had with the different divisions prior to the 1993-94 season.
The NHL should bring back the Adams, Patrick, Norris, and Smyth Conferences, not divisions!
4 Conferences that look a little like this:
- Black Hawks
- Blue Jackets
- Red Wings
- Maple Leafs
Now, how are these guys going to play each other? Here we go!
8-team conference = 38 intra-conference games: teams play 5 or 6 times
44 out of conference games: 22 Home, 22 Away
7-team conference = 36 intra-conference games: teams play 6 times (3 Home, 3 Away)
46 out of conference games: 23 Home, 23 Away
The NHL claims that the teams won’t be traveling outside their time zones as much and there will be earlier start times. My beef is why would I want to see the same teams over and over? Boring! According to Commissioner Bettman, “There was a team in the southeast that had to be somewhere else. We need to be more efficient and the schedule maker believes he can be.”
The playoff schedule would take the top 4 teams in each conference playing each other in the 1st round; round 2 would be the winners of the first plus reseeding, and round 3 will have the winners from all conferences to battle each other. The 4th round or in this case, the Stanley Cup Finals, will be the winners from round 3. The Board of Governors meeting in March will focus on the topic of reseeding of the winners from each conference for the 3rd round in the playoffs.
NHL.com currently has a fan poll: Which is the toughest conference in the realignment? It looks like Conference D is going to be the toughest with 37% of the vote so far. Conference D has rivals from the current season like the Rangers and Flyers, the Capitals and Penguins, and interstate rivals with the Islanders and Rangers & Flyers and Penguins. One thing I like about the new realignment is that each city will get to see every team in the league at least 1 time. However, being from Florida, I can sure empathize with the Lightning & Panthers as they will travel to the Northeast on 3-4 hour flights.