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Report: NHL eyes divisional, playoff overhaul


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http://www.nbcsports.com/nhl/695985/detail.html

Report: NHL eyes divisional, playoff overhaul

Updated: Dec.22, 2006, 3:08 pm EST

In an effort to improve the game and the NHL schedule, the league is strongly considering major changes, according to a TSN report.

Central to the changes is the reduction of six divisions into four, as well as a revised playoff alignment where the top two teams in each division are guaranteed playoff spots while the rest battle for four wild cards.

NHL commissioner Gary BettmanSteve Mitchell/AP PhotoA meeting of the minds between Gary Bettman and the league's governors may result in another big change for the NHL.

The report also states that these changes, in whichever form is ratified at an NHL board meeting during the All-Star break, would take effect next season. The league would need 20 of the 30 governors to approve of the overhaul, the genesis of which unfolded at a summit in New York that included commissioner Gary Bettman and six governors representing their respective divisions.

As for how the new divisions would break down, the theory of grouping the teams by time zone to ease travel and increase TV ratings is prevalent.

In addition, the ongoing debate to have more clubs play each other during the year and expose the NHL's stars to every market possible will take a new turn.

Division rivals would have six games against each other, while playing conference teams four times and each of the opposite conference's clubs once each.

Here's how the divisions may be configured in this new scenario, without taking into account where the Pittsburgh Penguins will end up after their arena deal expires this summer:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Division A - eight teams

New Jersey Devils

New York Islanders

New York Rangers

Philadelphia Flyers

plus all but one of the following:

Atlanta Thrashers

Carolina Hurricanes

Florida Panthers

Tampa Bay Lightning

Washington Capitals

Division B - seven teams

Boston Bruins

Buffalo Sabres

Montreal Canadiens

Ottawa Senators

Toronto Maple Leafs

Pittsburgh Penguins (or new incarnation)

One other team

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Division C - seven teams

All teams in eastern or central time zone, likely to include:

Chicago Blackhawks

Columbus Blue Jackets

Dallas Stars

Detroit Red Wings

Minnesota Wild

Nashville Predators

St. Louis Blues

Division D - eight teams

Anaheim Ducks

Calgary Flames

Colorado Avalanche

Edmonton Oilers

Los Angeles Kings

Phoenix Coyotes

San Jose Sharks

Vancouver Canucks

I say the league outta at lease wait and see what's gonna happen in Pittsburgh first.

(mods,if you could change the title to only say "Report: NHL eyes divisional, playoff overhaul",my pc was acting up on me,thanks)

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I like it. It reminds me more of when I was a kid, when the top four in each division made the playoffs and the divisional round actually meant that one team from each division advanced to the semis. And the projected alignment looks more like those good old days too, just with about 8,000 more teams then there were back then.

While we're at it, can we please get the old division and conference names back?!?

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There's nothing wrong with the current format.

Except for shootouts, points for overtime losses, overexpansion, generically named divisions and conferences...

Shootouts bring excitement to the game. And I doubt you're sitting back in a reclined position if your team's involved in a shootout.

I wouldn't oppose a change in the points structure to a 3-point format (3 for regulation win, 2 for OT/shootout win, 1 for OT/shootout loss, 0 for regulation loss). But the current OT trumps the old, where both teams would dump-chase-clear-dump-chase-clear for five minutes because they would fear losing their point.

I agree that the league expanded too quickly, but having 30 teams is plenty, and there's no plan to expand. Hockey's talent pool is deeper than, say football and basketball, so it's not like there are teams going through decade-long stretches of playing non-playoff, losing hockey. All the teams have a current/future superstar on their roster that the local market would recognize more often than not.

I prefer simplicity. Since the league is divided geographically, have the conferences and divisions be geographical as well.

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I'm with Hedley on this one. There are other things the NHL could try to improve (at the risk of just making it worse), but the playoff format is not one of them. There's nothing wrong with it. All of these changes are hurting the game.

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There's nothing wrong with the current format.

Except for shootouts, points for overtime losses, overexpansion, generically named divisions and conferences...

Shootouts bring excitement to the game. And I doubt you're sitting back in a reclined position if your team's involved in a shootout.

I wouldn't oppose a change in the points structure to a 3-point format (3 for regulation win, 2 for OT/shootout win, 1 for OT/shootout loss, 0 for regulation loss). But the current OT trumps the old, where both teams would dump-chase-clear-dump-chase-clear for five minutes because they would fear losing their point.

It just doesn't make sense to me that the game is played by one set of rules for regulation, and turns into something else for overtime, i.e. 4 on 4 and shootouts. IMO it's an artificial, forced attempt to inject excitement and compromises the game's integrity. If the NFL's overtime format was changed to teams alternating field goal or hail mary attempts, fans would burn down the league offices. And regarding overtime losses, I'm keeping my hard line stance: if you lose a game under any circumstances, you shouldn't get a single point.

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I like the current 6 division set-up. I wish Bettman would stop :censored:ing around witht he game. yes, make some changes, but you don't need to make them each and every year. We should wait and see for the Pittsburgh situation before any talk of realighment takes place

I have to agree though, There shouldn't be any points for teams that lose. Now that we have shootouts, what the hell is the point of giving OT-losses? one way or another one team will win. why should the losing team be rewarded just for hanging on? it's bull. you lose, you get nothing is how it should work, like every other sport.

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I like this as long as they go back to divisional playoffs. That creates rivalries and hatred which make the sport great. It makes an already great playoffs better because you are almost gauranteed rivalries in the early rounds which adds excitement to those rounds which aren't necessairly the most exciting rounds. It also adds excitement to what amounts to a passionless regular season because you are competing with you division (the teams you play the most) for playoff spots.

Also Billsfan, The Caps would go into the Atlantic division which would reunite them with their historic rivals with the exeption of Pittsburgh. Atlanta being the furthest west of the southern teams would go to the central with either Detroit or Columbus moving into the northeast.

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If Pittsburgh moves to Kansas City, they'd be in the new Central while Detroit would join the new Northeast with the current members of the Northeast plus..............?????

--Roger "Time?" Clemente.

I wish we could get Minnesota, Detroit, Chicago, Toronto, and St. Louis together to recapture the black-and-blue Norris Division.

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If Pittsburgh moves to Kansas City, they'd be in the new Central while Detroit would join the new Northeast with the current members of the Northeast plus..............?????

--Roger "Time?" Clemente.

I wish we could get Minnesota, Detroit, Chicago, Toronto, and St. Louis together to recapture the black-and-blue Norris Division.

Let's put Tampa Bay back in there too.

--Roger "Time?" Clemente.

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If Pittsburgh moves to Kansas City, they'd be in the new Central while Detroit would join the new Northeast with the current members of the Northeast plus..............?????

--Roger "Time?" Clemente.

I wish we could get Minnesota, Detroit, Chicago, Toronto, and St. Louis together to recapture the black-and-blue Norris Division.

Let's put Tampa Bay back in there too.

--Roger "Time?" Clemente.

I'd rather have Dallas as the 6th team.

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I like it for two reasons (one of which is homerism).

1. Everybody plays everybody. If you are a Wild fan, do you honestly say "I don't want Pittsburg to come here this year. I'd rather see Edmonton one more time"? I don't. I know I am in the minority, but I think everyone should play at everyone's building.

2. Love the Wild's division. Much better, geographically. But that's purly from a Wild fan standpoint. Personally I do not see 4 or 6 divisions as superior. I just think something needs to be stuck with to create some tradition and stop looking like something that constantly gets tweaked.

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If the Pens do move to Kansas City the line-up could look like this:

Eastern Conference

Atlantic - Atlanta, Carolina, Florida, New Jersey, NY Islanders, NY Rangers, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay

Northeast - Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Washington

Western Conference

Central - Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Kansas City, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis

Pacific - Anaheim, Calgary, Colorado, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver

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If I had things my way,this is how the NHL would look from here on in.

THE "NEW" OL'-SKOOL NAT'L HOCKEY LEAGUE ALIGNMENT

EASTERN/WALES Conference

ATLANTIC/PATRICK

1).New Jersey

2).New York(Long Island)

3).New York(Manhattan)

4).Philadelphia

5).Carolina

6).Atlanta

7).Tampa Bay

8).Florida

What are ya gonna do?not much else I had to do.

NORTHEAST/ADAMS

1).Boston

2).Buffalo

3).Montreal

4).Ottawa

5).Pittsburgh-NHL won't let them go trust me.

6).Toronto

7).Washington,DC-I know they belong in the Atl.,but I had no choice.

I have strong feelings about this division-pretty sweet though.

WESTERN/CAMPBELL Conference

CENTRAL/NORRIS

1).Chicago

2).Columbus

3).Dallas/Ft.Worth

4).Detroit

5).Minnesota

6).Nashville

7).St.Louis

FYI,this is gonna be may fav. division if things work out as they planned.

PACIFIC/SMYTHE

1).Anaheim

2).Calgary

3).Colorado

4).Edmonton

5).Los Angeles

6).Phoenix

7).San Jose

8).Vancouver

see...the ATLANTIC-this division is 1/2 way decent as well.

FYI-in a perfect world,if the NHL expands again,they should give towns like Hartford,Winnipeg

Quebec City another "shot",but it's not nor it will ever be.TPTB(The Powers That Be)are going

to give Kansas City,Houston,Portland or even Salt Lake a glance over the 3 previous towns

that had teams before.That's all for today.THE END. :hockeysmiley:

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