Last night the NHL Board of Governors approved the four conference format that will preserves rivalries while easing the burden of teams like Detroit, Nashville and Columbus having to travel out west multiple times per season. It doesn't put Detroit in the east per se, but it does solve more problems then it creates.
Click the jump to ream the official release.
The National Hockey League Board of Governors tonight approved a four-conference alignment format and authorized Commissioner Gary Bettman to implement this proposal, pending input from the National Hockey League Players’ Association.
The format would create two eight-team Conferences and two seven-team conferences.
Under the format, every team would play every other team outside its conference twice -- once home, once away.
In the seven-team Conferences, teams would play six times -- three home, three away. In the eight-team Conferences, teams would play either five or six times in a season on a rotating basis; three teams would play each other six times and four teams would play each other five times. This process would reverse each season: An eight-team Conference member that plays an opponent six times in one season would play it five times the following season.
The top four teams in each Conference qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The first-place team would play the fourth-place team; the second-place team would play the third-place team.
The four respective Conference champions would meet in the third round of the Playoffs, with the survivors playing for the Stanley Cup.
The Conference format:
|Conference A||Conference B||Conference C||Conference D|
|San Jose||St. Louis||Toronto||Washington|
Discussion: What do you think about the new realignment? Yay, Nay? Chicago sucks!
I personally like it, we get to play Montreal, Toronto, Boston guaranteed twice a year. The playoffs are going to be interesting as it wont be seeded with the division winners automatically getting a 1,2 or 3 bid leaving a team with more points in the 4 or even 5 spot in some cases. I am not clear how the match-ups are determined for the 3rd round, could we see a Detroit - Toronto 3rd round followed by a Detroit - Montreal Finals? or better yet a Detroit - Chicago Finals?
The two conferences with 7 teams opens the door for a few more expansion teams. I don't know how I feel about that idea, but I would love to see a team here in Charlotte, NC so I can see my Wings at least once a year!
I'd like to go back to the old Campbell/Wales conferences and Norris, Smythe, Patrick, Adams, divisions.
I think they only had to move a few teams around and change the schedule, they didn't have to be so radical.
But whatever, the NHL is so gimmicky now anyways.
I like it... Every team at least twice... Rivalries for playoffs making a huge comeback... Anyone can play anyone in the finals... All the possibilities lead to a building excitement. Could the conferences been laid out better? Possibly, but you'll never please everyone... And putting the OG jets in an 8 team conf. makes it easy if the decide to, dare I say it, jet out of Arizona...
I personally like it, if only for the playoff implications. Of course I'm really excited to see what the Red Wings can do without the extra strain of travel.
My understanding - The first 2 rounds would be intra-conference. So after 2 rounds, 1 team from each conference remains Detroit could face Montreal or Toronto, but not both in the same playoffs. I do like the idea that all future Stanley Cup finals will feature two teams from what will be formerly known as the Western Conference.
They will be determining 3rd round formatting at the GM meetings in the Spring.
Personally, I like the realignment, but I also never minded the current divisional setup because 10:30 PM starts meant I could watch the Wings without any distractions that may come along with 7:30 starts. But I think the decreased travel is a huge reason to like this format. I'm also excited to see the inter-"conference" rivalries be incubated and reinforced with the playoff setup.
The people you have to feel sorry for are Tampa and Florida. Not sure how Isles/Rangers or Pens/Flyers didn't swap places with the two Florida teams. I realize the keeping all the current SE teams together makes a fairly noncompetitive conference at the moment, but I find it ridiculous that teams should have to fly over another conference to play teams in their own conference.
And what do people think about both 7-team conferences being in the east? It doesn't feel right to me, but I can't come up with a reasonable argument against it.
@kingjeff353 I was actually thinking the opposite- makes it easy to cut two teams...
@DannyG Everyone wants the old ways for sentimentality. I think this way is actually better.
Sorta got confused on the playoffs... I meant Wet can face west or east and east not exactly any match up... So no Detroit Chicago finals is possible...
There will still be 16 teams, 3 rounds and a final so it goes intra-conference for rounds 1 & 2 then round 3 would seed the last 4 teams based on regular season standings. Probably 1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3. This would replace what is now the WCF & ECF. then the winners of those games would play for the cup. So I would assume that if the cards fell right the Wings could play the Hawks in the finals ans well as a former eastern conference team in round 3 @kingjeff353
@JustinFetterman Also Dallas. Man, they will be out of their time-zone more often then they'll be in it.
@JustinFetterman I believe this was done because of all the Canadians who live in Florida during the winters. By having Montreal, Toronto, and Ottawa in their division, they're more likely to draw those fans in for games, thus boosting revenue. In total those 3 teams will visit the Florida teams 9 times vs only 3 if they were in a different conference.
@JustinFetterman I think the two 7 team East was done with the foresight that Phoenix is at least somewhat likely to relocate to an East-ish city within the next few years. Otherwise I think they may have just slid Columbus over to Division C since they don't really have the deep rooted rivalries some of the other Eastern Time Zone Conference B teams do.
@Tnhgeno Not as bad as the lonely pair of Mountain Time teams. As far as time-zone, Dallas is chock-a-block with CST opponents: St. Louis, Chicago, Nashville, Minnesota, and Winnipeg. There's just no team, in any time zone, all that close to Dallas. They won't have an easy travel schedule until Bettman starts propping up teams in Houston, San Antonio, El Paso, Oklahoma City, Kansas City, Nebraska City (yes, that's real), Dodge City, Colorado City (that's in Texas), and Mexico City. So, essentially, about 2015.
@DetCapC19 I didn't realize the Canadian snow-birds were that big of a population, or that the NHL would be aware of it and make it a factor in the decision. Of course, if there's one thing Bettman knows, it's money and advertising (as opposed to, say, anything about the game of hockey).
I live in Boston now and there's definitely some resistance around here to the Florida travel. Of course, it's no worse than Winnipeg and Minnesota with Dallas or the big north/south gap in the Pacific (?) conference. We can't all be in the Mid-Atlantic "Within Walking Distance" conference.
@JustinFetterman Given that the Panthers have select games where they actually tarp over lower-bowl sections with adverstising, I imagine any kind of bump in attendance would have to be considered. hahahaha.
But I agree with you on the geographical alignment - NYI and NYR would have made more sense in that Conf with the Florida teams (and maybe even Nashville) in the more southern conference.