After Atlanta moved to Winnipeg last summer, it was clear that things had to change and they have. Time will tell if it is for the better or not.
League officials approved a radical realignment plan Monday that will give the league four conferences instead of six divisions and guarantee home-and-home series among all teams.
The Board of Governors authorized commissioner Gary Bettman to implement the proposal pending input from the NHL Players’ Association. It could go into effect next season.
“This is not a subject that everybody is going to get their first choice on,” Bettman said. “What you try to do is come up with something that everybody can live with, get comfortable with and understands the value of. Because if you ask 30 clubs, you’d probably get 30 different solutions. That’s what makes this a difficult process.”
The new look has two conferences with seven teams all based in the Eastern time zone: New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Washington and Carolina in one, and Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Buffalo, Florida and Tampa Bay in the other.
The third conference consists of eight teams in the Eastern and Central time zones: Detroit, Columbus, Nashville, St. Louis, Chicago, Minnesota, Dallas and Winnipeg.
The fourth conference has eight teams in the Mountain and Pacific time zones: Los Angeles, Anaheim, Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Colorado.
The top four teams in each conference qualify for the playoffs, which then bring back divisional matchups. The four respective conference champions would meet in the third round of the playoffs, with the winners playing for the Stanley Cup.
The conferences have not been named.
Source: Chicago Sun Times