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NHL schedule to change


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From the NBC Bellowing Moose blog:

Division over the schedule

Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby is electrifying and now has Evgeni Malkin on the ice with him, Brendan Shanahan is lighting it up for the Rangers, Zach Parise is emerging as a star for New Jersey. ? boy those Atlantic Division teams are something to watch, aren't they?

What's that you say? You live in a Northwest Division city? You didn't see the Atlantic Division teams in person last year, and you won't see them again this year? You're getting the Penguins, Flyers and Rangers in your building about as often as Berkeley gets a visit from Rush Limbaugh?

Welcome to the post-lockout NHL, where getting as many teams into as many cities as possible has been sacrificed in the name of more divisional games.

But not for much longer, puckheads. Sources are whispering in the Moose's big floppy ears that a change to the NHL schedule is coming next season. The league is getting a lot of heat from Western Conference clubs who simply aren't seeing enough of the Eastern teams, and so starting next season will cut some divisional games to ensure that all teams will play each other at least once a season.

How will this be achieved? Probably by cutting the number of games a team plays against its own divisional opponents from eight to seven, and cutting some inter-conference matchups from four to three. That frees up enough games to make sure everyone plays everyone else at least once. It still doesn't mean that every team will come to your arena every season, but it's a start.

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Tou know for all the griping this current schedule is got it actually is better than what they had. At least with this one you were assured to see every team come in at least once every 3 years before there wasn't a guarantee. I believe before there was something were LA hadn't gone to Toronto or vice versa for like 6 years.

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One of the few problems I had with the new NHL was the scheduling, I always thought that in an 82 game season, there should be at least one game with every team, so I'm glad the NHL is changing it up, it'll be nice to see Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, and all the other young stars play the Canucks at least once each season.

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I think that this is better than what they have. Nevertheless, there is still a 50/50 chance that the Wild will not host Sidney Crosby for a third straight year next year. I think they should follow the NBA schedule where everyone visits every building at least once.

I know most of the hockey fans prefer the current schedule with more division matchups, but if I were a season ticket holder, I'd rather see every team at least once--particulary if I were a Wild season ticket holder where he have no geographic rival in the division.

I suppose the current schedule works OK for teams like NYR, NYI, NJ and PHI, etc. since the division rivalries are also very geographic. But as a Wild fan, we never play certain teams in the east and...yay! Tons of games agasint Vancouver, Edmonton, etc...

As the story said, it's a start.

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I think I've got a plan that may work to get every team to every arena, every year. It would work something like this:

You would play every team from the other conference twice a year, once at home and one on the road (30 games of your total schedule).

You'd play every team outside your division but in your conference twice a year, just as above. (20 games of total schedule).

You'd play every team in your division 6 times, 3 at home and 3 on the road. (24 games in division)

That would put us at a 74 game season, which we can easily make an 80 game season if we allow six 'rivalry' games to be played outside of this system. That allows for more Wings-Avalanche or Wings-Leafs games, for example.

Just a little something I was thinking about the other day.

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I think I've got a plan that may work to get every team to every arena, every year. It would work something like this:

You would play every team from the other conference twice a year, once at home and one on the road (30 games of your total schedule).

You'd play every team outside your division but in your conference twice a year, just as above. (20 games of total schedule).

You'd play every team in your division 6 times, 3 at home and 3 on the road. (24 games in division)

That would put us at a 74 game season, which we can easily make an 80 game season if we allow six 'rivalry' games to be played outside of this system. That allows for more Wings-Avalanche or Wings-Leafs games, for example.

Just a little something I was thinking about the other day.

Not a terrible idea, but I don't like playing non-conference teams the same amount as conference teams.

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As someone who splits a season ticket for the Wild I just HATE WITH A PASSION the current schedule. It seems like all my favorite teams and players are in the East. It just seems like I'm not getting much value for my money when Brodeur, Sundin, Kovalchuck, Ovechkin and Crosby will only come to town ONE time every THREE YEARS. And what happens when your favorite goalie then gets the night off? Boom! Your now up to once every SIX years, and it SUCKS.

I could care less about so many teams in the West and they come here twice a year and then every time you look up, here comes Calgary and Edmonton again and again.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. They claim they did this to "build rivalries", but rivalries are built during the PLAYOFFS when you have a chance to end someone's season. The Wild did not have a rivalry with Vancouver until we met them in the playoffs. Now that Bertuzzi and Ruutu are gone, we really don't have much of one now either. Just a lot of damn games against them that are not what they used to be and are keeping me from seeing the Rangers, Islanders, Bruins, Devils and Flyers this year. I actually think they did it to cut down on travel expenses and nothing more.

I think they should go to a format like the AHL. Just have four divisions Two would be 7 teams and two would be 8 teams. Play everyone in the league home and away. That's 29 out of 41 home games, leaving 12 more. If you are in one of the two 7 team divisions, play them four more times home and away and there's your 12 remaining home dates. If you are in the 8 team division, you would play 5 of the 7 teams four more times and the other 2 teams two more times (home and away) on a rotating annual basis.

This lets you play everyone in the other 3 divisions twice a year and the teams in your division 6 times a year, down from the current 8. It's also spread out among 6 or 7 other teams, not the current 4, so you don't get the mind numbing repitition that you have now.

Then, play the first two rounds of the playoffs in your own division, guaranteeing playoff rivalries that only grow over the years. Once you have a Division Champion, I'd say screw the East/West format and reseed the remaining teams 1-4. This would prevent two Cinderella teams from meeting in the Conference finals and setting up a sucky mis-match in the finals.

I'd go with something like this;

1. Calgary

2. Edmonton

3. Vancouver

4. Anaheim

5. San Jose

6. Los Angeles

7. Phoenix

8. Colorado

1. Buffalo

2. Pittsburgh

3. Detroit

4. Columbus

5. St. Louis

6. Minnesota

7. Chicago

1. Florida

2. Tampa Bay

3. Atlanta

4. Carolina

5. Washington

6. Nashville

7. Dallas

1. Montreal

2. Boston

3. Ottawa

4. Toronto

5. NY Rangers

6. NY Islanders

7. New Jersey

8. Philadelphia

No matter how they do it, I for one would be really excited to see them go back to having each team come to town once a year.

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I mentioned this idea in another thread, and it may be a wild idea, but it's worth it.

Get rid of conferences altogether. If you want regional rivalries, that's good enough for division play.

Five divisions of six teams each. You play each of your divisional rivals six times, everyone else twice, and an extra game against one team in each division (based on position). That's 82 games.

The five division winners get a week off while the six wild-card teams battle in a best of five series to advance to the Quarterfinals. And you go from there.

The only downside is that you have less of a chance of meeting the same team in the playoffs as you would in conference play. But it's an idea.

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Every team should play division opponents 5 times, their conference 3 times, and the other conference two times. Every team would play in every arena. If my math is correct, that is 80 games. If you want to keep it 82, then just add two extra games for division opponents. Problem solved?

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The schedule, along with these new unis next year, are the 2 things I think the NHL went the wrong direction in. Why shouldn't you play everyone? Especially with 82 games. It gets stale playing the Devils and Flyers so many times even if it is a division game. One or two less won't hurt. Uniguy22, I like your idea. I'd say just then quit the other two games but they'll never reduce due to lost revenue.

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I would keep the current schedule. I love Buffalo-Leafs games. It means something big. Who cares if Buffalo beats Phoenix in November.

But if they have to change it I would have 8 divisional games, and 2 games against every other team. That is 82 games.

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The NHL should just copy what the NBA does.

-Thirty games against the opposite conference (15 home, 15 away). (30)

-Four games against your division foes. (16)

-Three or four games against non-division conference teams (6 series of 4, 4 series of 3, split between other divisions). (36)

You have the standard 82-game season. (If it's raised to 86 games, you could play each conference opponent four times.) Conference opponents still make up 63% of your schedule. You get each team at home. And since playoffs are based on your standing in the conference, you get a true reading on which teams are strongest in the conference, as opposed to just strongest in a division.

Example: Atlanta's schedule

2 games vs. each opponent in the Western Conference -- 30 games

4 games vs. Division (CAR, FLA, TB, WSH) -- 16 games

4 games vs. six non-division, split between other two divisions (BOS, BUF, MON, NJ, NYI, NYR) -- 24 games

3 games vs. four non-division, split by other divisions (OTT, TOR, PHI, PIT) -- 12 games

30 + 16 + 24 + 12 = 82

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As a Devils fan I love the current schedule. I don't care about watching them play the Phoenix Coyotes; the games I love to watch are when they play Philly, the Rangers, and the Penguins. Those are fun games that I try to watch if a get a chance. I don't live in NJ anymore so I can't watch every game but I try to see if those games are on the internet and if not I try to at least listen to them on the radio.

As for what someone mention about fans not in their teams home city, well I'm one of those fans. I live in Florida and go to school near DC. This new schedule format they are proposing actually reduces the chance I get to see my team. This year I can only see them live once because I'm on break when the Devils come into Washington the first time. If they go to this schedule there is a chance I don't see them live at all if the dates are similar.

I don't care if you westerners don't like it the current schedule is good. I don't care about seeing, Phoenix, LA, St. Louis, Chicago, Columbus ect. If I'm going to watch my team play a bad team I rather it be someone like the Islanders were there is a little bad blood to make it interesting. Now if there was only a way to get Washington back in the Patrick Division where they belong.

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I'm kind of indifferent on this one. It will be nice to see every team, but I love getting to see so many games against the Rangers, Devils, and Flyers. (Islanders too... I guess)

I guess the schedule is a little east coast bias. The only team from the West that is a must see anytime they are in town is Detroit. Not too take anything away from Anaheim, Colorado, Dallas, ect.., but I would much rather see Montreal, Toronto, and Boston

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As a Devils fan I love the current schedule. I don't care about watching them play the Phoenix Coyotes; the games I love to watch are when they play Philly, the Rangers, and the Penguins. Those are fun games that I try to watch if a get a chance. I don't live in NJ anymore so I can't watch every game but I try to see if those games are on the internet and if not I try to at least listen to them on the radio.

As for what someone mention about fans not in their teams home city, well I'm one of those fans. I live in Florida and go to school near DC. This new schedule format they are proposing actually reduces the chance I get to see my team. This year I can only see them live once because I'm on break when the Devils come into Washington the first time. If they go to this schedule there is a chance I don't see them live at all if the dates are similar.

I don't care if you westerners don't like it the current schedule is good. I don't care about seeing, Phoenix, LA, St. Louis, Chicago, Columbus ect. If I'm going to watch my team play a bad team I rather it be someone like the Islanders were there is a little bad blood to make it interesting. Now if there was only a way to get Washington back in the Patrick Division where they belong.

I am also a Devils fan and love the schedule because like you said the Rangers, Penguins, and Flyers games are great. I rather see them than say Chicago. It is unfair to people that see for teams not in their city though and I beleive every team should play each other once.

This is what I propose- A 90 game schedule

15 non conference games (1 against each team)

30 conference games (2 against each team)

35 divisional games (play each team 7 times)

10 games against non divisional or non conference teams (i.e. Devils v.s. Red Wings would be a good game).

The 10 games would be played against 5 teams (1 home and 1 away)

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Obviously the multiple time zones would ruin this brilliant idea, but for fun I decided to divide the league into NORTH versus SOUTH (as opposed to EAST vs. WEST). That way the 6 canadian teams would get to face each other much more, which is in my opinion the biggest shorcoming of the current schedule. (Also I lumped the Original 6 into the same conference, but this was awkward because Minnesota loses out as gets placed in the Southern Conference.)

NORTHERN CONFERENCE:

Northwest: CGY, EDM, VAN, CHI, DET

Northeast (stays the same): TOR, OTT, MTL, BOS, BUF

Atlantic (stays the same): NYI, NYR, NJY, PIT, PHI

SOUTHERN CONFERENCE:

Southeast (stays the same): TAM, FLA, ATL, CAR, WAS

Central: CBJ, NAS, STL, DAL, MIN

Pacific: ANH, LOS, SAN, PHX, COL

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As a Devils fan I love the current schedule. I don't care about watching them play the Phoenix Coyotes; the games I love to watch are when they play Philly, the Rangers, and the Penguins. Those are fun games that I try to watch if a get a chance. I don't live in NJ anymore so I can't watch every game but I try to see if those games are on the internet and if not I try to at least listen to them on the radio.

As for what someone mention about fans not in their teams home city, well I'm one of those fans. I live in Florida and go to school near DC. This new schedule format they are proposing actually reduces the chance I get to see my team. This year I can only see them live once because I'm on break when the Devils come into Washington the first time. If they go to this schedule there is a chance I don't see them live at all if the dates are similar.

I don't care if you westerners don't like it the current schedule is good. I don't care about seeing, Phoenix, LA, St. Louis, Chicago, Columbus ect. If I'm going to watch my team play a bad team I rather it be someone like the Islanders were there is a little bad blood to make it interesting. Now if there was only a way to get Washington back in the Patrick Division where they belong.

The thing about it is that the Devils, Rangers, Penguins, Flyers, Capitals, Sabres and Thrashers are some of the more exciting teams in the Eastern Conference, so fans of those teams benefit greater from the mass inter-conference play. The people in Chicago, Columbus, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Phoenix, etc. who DO want to see those teams, whether or not they are fans or them can't. It sucks for the fans of the Western teams who want to see Brodeur or Forsberg or Jagr or Crosby or Malkin or Ovechkin (or even just the traditional teams like in person just to see them play.

Even though you don't live in your favorite team's neighborhood anymore, you still live within the conference the team plays, so the opportunity is there to see them twice every season. Those that live outside the conference only appear to have that opportunity once every three years.

--Roger "Time?" Clemente.

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