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NHL’s realignment plan has been ‘tweaked’

Feb 13, 2013, 4:37 PM EDT

In December of 2011, the NHL announced a “radical” realignment plan that split the league into four “conferences” as opposed to its current structure of two conferences with three divisions in each.

The NHLPA eventually scuttled the plan, citing concerns over travel as well as the fairness of the proposed playoff qualification system.

Now, realignment is back on the table (this time, the league and union are working out the details together), and according to deputy commissioner Bill Daly, the NHL is hoping to put everything to bed in two weeks or so (via Yahoo!’s Nick Cotsonika).

But Daly says this realignment plan will be slightly different than the last one, which featured the following four conferences:

—- New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Washington and Carolina

—- Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Buffalo, Florida and Tampa Bay

—- Detroit, Columbus, Nashville, St. Louis, Chicago, Minnesota, Dallas and Winnipeg

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

Daly wouldn’t say what’s changed — there will still be four conferences, so we can only assume some teams have been shuffled around.

Did it make sense having the two Florida teams playing in the same division as Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and Buffalo instead of being grouped with other southern teams like Carolina, Nashville and/or Dallas?

What about keeping Winnipeg out of a division with natural (and old Smythe Division) rivals Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver?

That’s for the league and players to decide.

Under the NHL’s plan, the top four teams in each conference would make the postseason. The first two rounds of the playoffs would be played within the conference (1 v 4, 2 v 3) with the four surviving teams advancing to the semi-finals.

Which is to say, postseason familiarity is going to create some serious rivalries, a la the once-great Battle of Alberta. So while travel distance should obviously be a factor in determining who goes where, other factors like history and the team’s country will likely be considered as well.


Image via

  1. danaking - Feb 13, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    The playoff seeding are a real problem. If you get a season where three or four of the best teams are clustered in the same conference, you’ll have eliminated all but one of them by the time you get to the semis. The point should be to get the two best teams to the finals. Maybe they first rounds could be 1-4, 2-3 in the conference, then re-seed the eight remaining teams.

    • mclovinhockey - Feb 13, 2013 at 5:15 PM

      Just look at the east right now… NYR, NJ, Pitt and Philly almost always make the playoffs because they always have top of the line teams
      Tb, Fla, Mtl, Tor, buff and ott all can be question marks.

      • buckyblackhawk - Feb 13, 2013 at 5:24 PM

        In theory, over a span of time teams should go through cycles. Taking into current standings when moving teams around is bad idea. It would in a way be telling fans on a bad team that the league doesn’t think they will improve.

      • bmscalise - Feb 13, 2013 at 6:06 PM

        @buckyblackhawk – To a certain extent, you are right. But ultimately, it comes down to money. Certain divisions – especially the expanded Atlantic above – will essentially always be harder to get through than others – because those teams will spend to the cap every year. NYR, Pitt, NJ, Philly may have an occasional down year because of injury or other circumstances, but not all that often. It would also make me furious if I was a budget team like Carolina who won’t make it into the playoffs without going through 4 cap teams.

        Playoff seeding, etc, should be based on the larger poll of teams – E and W as a whole. Even the insistence on letting the winners of crappy divisions like the SE have the 3rd seed is unfair: division winners should be assured a spot in the top 8, but not a top seed. The playoff format the league proposed to go with these new conferences would exacerbate this issue even more. Even if you say things within particular conferences will change from year to year – you’ll always have weaker teams from some conference or other making it farther than they deserve – because the system would ensure it.

      • buckyblackhawk - Feb 13, 2013 at 6:51 PM

        @bmscalise- I agree with what you say. I was just trying to make a general point that it wasn’t long ago the Blackhawks were a very bad or that the Penguins were getting the #1 or #2 pick for 3 straight years…..and so on

    • lesleyvissersfacelift - Feb 13, 2013 at 8:43 PM

      My favorite playoff format was from the 1970s when they seeded all playoff teams 1-16. That’s how you got may hips like Flyers-lsles in the Finals. Take top 4 teams from each conference and seed 1-16. Then you’ll have a 16 team tournament instead of four four-team tournaments where you may lose several strong teams from deep conferences in the early rounds.

      • lesleyvissersfacelift - Feb 13, 2013 at 8:59 PM

        **matchups ** but obviously this format still would not address the issue of a 5th seed in a deep conference missing out when they have a better record than a 3rd or 4th in a weak conference.

  2. jimw81 - Feb 13, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    just flip jets and preds and everyone will be peachy.

    • axisofweasels - Feb 13, 2013 at 5:18 PM

      seriously, the simplest ideas are the best.

    • comeonnowguys - Feb 13, 2013 at 8:23 PM

      Columbus, not Nashville.

      • tmoore4075 - Feb 14, 2013 at 9:31 AM

        Detroit not Columbus. See I can do it too. Nashville isn’t happening. You aren’t going to move a Central Timezone team before either of the two Eastern Timezone teams. Plus Nashville has created rivalries with some of the Western teams so it doesn’t benefit them much in that regrad. You could move Columbus but Detroit, one of the best teams the last 20 years, with a good owner who is committed to winning and kept his mouth shut during all the lockouts when a cap never benefited him was promised to be moved the next time a team needed to go East. So you would be rewarding a team who has sucked for years by giving them a more favorable schedule. Also Detroit and Columbus don’t fit in the SE. Detroit should be in the NE but none of those teams will be swapped and CBJ belong in the Atlantic with the Pens but none of those teams are moving. So instead of seeing Detroit and Chicago at home 3 times a year they get to see Tampa, FLA or Carolina? I’m sure that would give them an attendance boom.

        But even with all that a team for team swap doesn’t solve everything. Dallas is still stuck in the Pacific Division. San Jose has to fly to Detroit in round 1 or Vancouver to Chicago. Not all teams visit each other which benefits everyone. This also helps come playoff times for the local markets. Detroit doesn’t have 10:30 start times. LA doesn’t have 4:30pm start times.

      • comeonnowguys - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:19 PM

        Detroit isn’t happening. See, I can do it too… too? Tootoo. They’re not taking one of the best road draws out of the West. They’re not breaking up the only Original Six rivalry they have in the West.

        In fact, this whole four-division, division-centric realignment already is a boost to Detroit (and to a lesser extent Chicago, St. Louis and Nashville), who won’t have as many 10pm road games, and won’t have them in the playoffs until at least the semis. That’s in part how they are trying to placate Detroit for being a good soldier.

        Columbus fits better in the Southeast than you may think. Regardless, I’m in complete agreement with you on why Nashville isn’t going anywhere.

  3. mclovinhockey - Feb 13, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    No. This is just a horrific idea. Seeing 3/4th of the league once and playing the other 4th like 8 times is going to help kill the sport.
    This idea is moronic.

    • killacam42 - Feb 13, 2013 at 5:08 PM

      that’s not how it was going to be, it was supposed to be a home AND away with every team not in your conference…

      • tmoore4075 - Feb 14, 2013 at 9:34 AM

        Exactly! So the Pens will play everyone in the other 3 conferences twice, once at home and once on the road. That doesn’t currently happen. I think the Coyotes, Stars and Avs benefit from seeing the Pens, Caps, Flyers, Bruins, Rangers in their buildings every year. Then you play the teams in your own conference 6 times a year. Three at home and three on the road. That’s the same number of divisional games that they play now just 2 (or 3 depending on what conf. you’re in) more teams than you currently have.

  4. danaking - Feb 13, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    Not to mention how things shake out when one conference is clearly inferior some year. Then worthy teams miss the playoffs, and lesser teams get in.

    The current system isn’t perfect, but it’s very good. It’s certainly not broken, but the NHL will fix it till it i.

  5. buckyblackhawk - Feb 13, 2013 at 4:49 PM

    4 conferences!?!?!? They clearly do not consult with the people who pay the bills….the fans. Why ruin the greatest thing going the Stanley Cup Playoffs, where the champs of the TWO conferences meet.

  6. gbar22 - Feb 13, 2013 at 4:55 PM

    This sucks.

  7. sjsharks66 - Feb 13, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    Sweeeeet… The western conference is about to be too boring to watch…

  8. gbar22 - Feb 13, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    I concur With previous poster this is all a gimmick to generate buzz but the reality is this just sucks. Taking something that is really good and works well and destroying it because the NHL likes to self destruct upon itself for whatever reason. They could have just realigned divisions but no lets make it more complicated than it really is. The NHL Just sucks nowadays.

  9. spochiefsfan - Feb 13, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    This is crazy talk. I agree that it’s not perfect but don’t ruin the playoffs with this!

  10. rca26 - Feb 13, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    I feel like that graphic emphasizes just how stupid the “Florida teams in the Northeast” idea is.

    The conferences look pretty well grouped until you see the big red line from Toronto to Tampa that literally cuts through the entire United States.

    • bmscalise - Feb 13, 2013 at 6:14 PM

      Well – it’s like that for a reason: if you remember, the first version had the Pens in a southern conference with the Florida teams, etc. And the Pens and Flyers had a fit. You don’t ruin one of the best traditional rivalries in the game – especially when it’s currently so good and so genuinely full of hate. Not to mention that the league isn’t going to go against the collective wishes of two of its most important franchises. There just aren’t enough southern markets for a whole conference – and this was the solution.

      • rca26 - Feb 13, 2013 at 9:04 PM

        Washington, Columbus, Carolina, Nashville, Dallas, Tampa Bay, Florida = 7 Southern teams = Southern Conference without an Atlantic team, with no team crossing more than 1 time zone.

  11. stratomaticfan - Feb 13, 2013 at 5:08 PM

    How about moving the South teams North and then dividing the pie geographically?

    Not like they’re gonna make money in Southern markets anyhow.

  12. hy3rid28 - Feb 13, 2013 at 5:09 PM

    what?? they are complicating this way more then they have to… atleast make them 4 divisions and keep the conferences so some of the top teams aren’t eliminating each other in the first round. come on NHL this is ridiculous

  13. mnwildfan15 - Feb 13, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    How hard is it to move Columbus to Winnipegs old spot Detroit to the east and Minnesota to the central. Problem solved.

    • chanceoffleury1 - Feb 13, 2013 at 6:51 PM

      They would never move Detroit to the east. Not unless they moved another huge east franchise to the west. From a revenue standpoint, they make more money by bringing Detroit into arenas like Phoenix, Dallas, and Anaheim since they struggle with attendance. Detroit leads the Western Conference in road attendance for a reason. For teams that struggle with attendance, the games where the struggling team is playing Detroit or Chicago are always their quickest sellouts.

      • tmoore4075 - Feb 14, 2013 at 10:46 AM

        Yeah this is it right here. As a Wings fan I wouldn’t mind the East but they won’t do it. That’s why they came up with this idea. They weren’t moving Nashville ahead of Det. or CBJ but the Wings or Jackets don’t fit in the SE. Under this format the Wings still go the LA, Anaheim, Phoenix (if they are still there) once a year. Sure they are losing a game against them but they are gaining games against Boston, Pit, PHL which will help off set that. This isn’t the perfect system but it’s a nice start. Balanced schedule for everyone, less travel for the West both regular season and playoffs and still keeps rivalries intact.

  14. thomaspratt - Feb 13, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    The essential element is that each team in the league play all the others, home and away. How they arrange the teams is a secondary consideration for me.

    • thomaspratt - Feb 13, 2013 at 5:51 PM

      Well, that and divisional playoffs. Playoffs in the 80s created fun, fantastic rivalries noted far beyond the NHL

  15. juliath83 - Feb 13, 2013 at 5:35 PM

    This plan would be nuts, any Atlantic team would be able to play all of their conference foes on the road in succession and cover fewer miles than a round-trip from Vancouver to Denver. Smacks of favoritism if you ask me. I understand the notion of keeping local rivalries in tact, but teams on the west should not be at such a glaring travel disadvantage. Make the conferences non-regional, like the NFL and MLB do, but allow for some regional divisions within the conference. Make ALL teams travel, not just those out west.

    • chanceoffleury1 - Feb 13, 2013 at 6:02 PM

      It doesn’t matter how you realign, the teams in the west will be at a travel disadvantage. There just aren’t as many teams to work with. In just that itsy bitsy part of New England between Boston and Washington, there are 8 teams. That’s a third of the league in maybe 1/10th of the entire area the NHL covers. and I’m not even including the Canadian teams like Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto that are all also just a hop skip and a jump away from the US Northeast.

      Western teams will always have to travel more, that’s just the way it is. One thing that could help a little would be moving Phoenix to Seattle, though. Then Colorado would be the only team out of the pacific time zone.

      • chanceoffleury1 - Feb 13, 2013 at 6:53 PM

        I’m not sure why I said Colorado would be the only one out of the Pacific TZ. Obviously Calgary and Edmonton would still be on Mountain Time. Regardless, moving to Seattle is a positive for the league.

      • sw19womble - Feb 14, 2013 at 9:42 PM

        Yeah, but Oilers and Flames are only an hour difference.

        Travelling to Detroit for a Western Conference game is idiotic.

        And don’t even get me started on Winnipeg….

  16. dropthepuckeh - Feb 13, 2013 at 6:02 PM

    I don’t think you can argue that a team in the Northeast is going to travel less than a Vancouver or L.A. just based on the fact that they are closer to other NHL cities. You can’t possibly think that they should make a conference with east and west coast teams to avoid “favoritism”. It is what is and players know the drill when they sign with a team. Maybe if the Devils play the Flyers after the game both teams should be required to drive up and down the Jersey Turnpike for a few hours to compensate for the west travel schedules.

  17. 8man - Feb 13, 2013 at 6:15 PM

    The only change I’d make, and I’m not even sure its a good one, would be to move Pittsburgh to the Eastern and one of the Florida teams to the Atlantic. And then it looks like a red and blue up and down the Eastern Seaboard. Also both conference would have to travel to Florida.

    That’s all I got. Otherwise, I think I’m okay with it. I’m a Bruins fan. I don’t care who they play. As long as I can watch.

  18. ironman721 - Feb 13, 2013 at 6:16 PM


  19. wicky888 - Feb 13, 2013 at 6:23 PM

    Keep the west as is.
    Dallas, St. Louis, Nashville, Carolina, Tampa, Florida and Columbus in the South
    Philly, NJ, Pitt, NYI, Wash, NYR, Boston in East
    Everyone else in the North

    Call them divisions, not conferences. West and South make up one conference, North and East make up another, at least that way there are 15 teams aside. Keep the playoff seeding the way it is, dont ruin the only good thing about hockey right now

  20. ikillchicken - Feb 13, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    The West is pretty much set. Nothing you can change there. Maybe if Phoenix moves to Quebec/Ontario but until then the Jets are just out of luck.

    So is the Atlantic more or less. You aren’t going to split up the NY teams or the Pens/Flyers. That’s essentially what creates the Florida problem though because it means those five other North Eastern teams are left hanging.

    I think there is a solution though. Turn the “Eastern” into the Northern by adding Minny, and Winnipeg (then the Jets at least have some Canadian rivals). Then the remaining Central teams plus the Florida teams become the South/Central. Pretty simple really.

  21. gbar22 - Feb 13, 2013 at 6:57 PM

    Here is what else sucks about this and no one seems to have brought it up but when you play a single team potentially 15 times a year it begins to ruin the rivalry just because of over saturation. I’m sorry but baseball made a huge mistake when they decided the Yankees and Red Sox should play 5000 times a year the games all suck unless it’s the end of the year and they are in it the rest of the hoopla that they try to sell in April just becomes annoying. I as a devils fan enjoy hating the flyers and the rangers and I already think we play them too much. I don’t need to see the flyers 15 times! It’s bad for rivalries.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Feb 13, 2013 at 7:16 PM

      You don’t play your division 15 times a year. There would be 2 games against the other conference. So your rangers would play 28 games vs the west. 16 games against the other eastern division. That leaves 38 games games vs the other 7 teams in your division. Far from 15 vs each team. In fact it’s less than the 6 you play now

  22. ruddigervancity - Feb 13, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    Soooo, 8 teams out of 16 make the playoffs out of the two “western” conferences, and 8 teams out of 14 make it in the “eastern” conferences? How is that fair?

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:46 PM

      It’s clear that 14 will be 16 soon with expansion

  23. kaptaanamerica - Feb 13, 2013 at 7:10 PM

    People in Vancouver and BC don’t want to be in the same division or conference as Edmonton Calgary or Winnipeg if it means we won’t be in the same conference as the other Pacific timezone teams.

  24. kaptaanamerica - Feb 13, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    No team should play more than one timezone away against a division rival.

  25. bensawesomeness - Feb 13, 2013 at 7:29 PM

    I love the idea of playing each team at least twice, one home one away, i love the 4 conference thing to limit travel, but the playoff format is terrifingly bad

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Feb 14, 2013 at 12:26 AM

      How is the playoff format terrifingly bad?

      • bensawesomeness - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:53 PM

        1-8 is a way better format than 1-4, plus then you’re going to play the same team allll the time. It’s kind of a pain and annoying to do it, especially if neither team improved/declined

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Feb 14, 2013 at 8:19 PM

        That’s assuming the same 4 teams make the playoffs in the same exact 4 seedings. That’s never going to happen

        In the past 5 years if they did this format only Toronto, Edmonton, Carolina, NY Islanders, and Winnipeg/Atlanta would have missed the playoffs. Carolina missed the playoffs 3 years by a combined 7 points.

      • bensawesomeness - Feb 15, 2013 at 12:41 AM

        i’m just uneasy about it.

  26. lionstigersandwingsohmy - Feb 13, 2013 at 7:51 PM

    Cut three games from the pre-season, add five to the regular season ( net increase of 2 ) and play every team three times. Rotate every year for the extra home game. Allow teams to carry an expanded roster for the first five games so rosters can be set. Seed the playoffs 1- 16 etc. This way you have the potential to face every other team in the final. Some finals may not be as exciting as others, but some would be fantastic.

  27. burke8 - Feb 13, 2013 at 7:55 PM

    They should really shake things up while making things fair for teams like Tampa and Florida. Keep the Canes in the Eastern conference, move the Blue Jackets to the Atlantic, and then move Toronto to the Central.

  28. burke8 - Feb 13, 2013 at 7:56 PM

    Er, Eastern Division, rather.

  29. tjromanello - Feb 13, 2013 at 8:06 PM

    How about eliminate a few franchises, move a few more and settle on 24 teams, 12 US and 12 Canadian…gives us a US/Canada Stanley Cup Final!

  30. comeonnowguys - Feb 13, 2013 at 8:18 PM

    Swap the NY teams with the Florida teams. Sure, you’d be breaking up some rivalries with Philly and New Jersey, but you’re breaking up one of the biggest geographical rivalries in North American sports (Boston/NY) as it is.

    Get those Florida teams out of the predominately-Canadian division.

    • comeonnowguys - Feb 13, 2013 at 8:20 PM

      And not for nothing, but the West-heavy conference splits also lend themselves to expansion/relocation to Seattle, GTA and Quebec.

  31. aces79 - Feb 13, 2013 at 8:23 PM

    Here are the division should really look like Break in to 3 Div. on East Conf and west Conf this is Proper












    • jericoc - Feb 14, 2013 at 10:45 AM

      This is as good as we’re going to get …

  32. buffalo65 - Feb 13, 2013 at 8:30 PM

    They should call them the Adams, Norris, Smythe and Patrick divisions.
    Florida should stay in the Adams division cause they will soon be Quebec.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:43 PM

      Florida isn’t leaving Sunrise anytime soon.

  33. Woody Bass - Feb 13, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    Reblogged this on Woody Bass.

  34. phillyphanatic77 - Feb 13, 2013 at 9:46 PM

    There has to be a simpler way than breaking up into four “conferences”. I can’t believe they’re even considering changing the playoff format. The NHL playoffs are one of the most exciting tournaments in all of sports! They don’t need to be changed. I get that certain teams have rough travel schedules but this realignment of the entire league is unnecessary. I hate it! Haven’t you guys done enough to the fans? Don’t allow it Gary.

  35. sammicurr1986 - Feb 13, 2013 at 11:04 PM

    Why are there 16 teams in the west,and 14 in the east?The bottom line is this,Detroit and Columbus are eastern time zone teams,move them there,and end this mess.When u expand finally,put the 2 teams in the west.It looks like Seattle is a front runner with them building a new arena and adding the Sacramento Kings from the NBA there as well.Then either Kansas City(who wants a team really bad and almost got the Penguins),or Houston,or somewhere else then,and your problem is solved.This is what the league should look like next year,and please people,I don’t wanna hear you can’t break up the Detroit/Chicago rivalry,or Penguins/Flyers rivalry either,it’s absurd,not buying it.The Penguins are closer to Detroit than they are to any team in their current division right now.Owner Mike Illitch was promised to be the next team to move east and they will,end of story.For people who don’t want them there,then they’re just plain scared of have another New Jersey Devils style of a team in that conference,which the Devils play the western conference style of hockey anyway.Change the names of the divisons to whatever and this is what they should look like in 2013-14,this is the fairest way to do it,even though I still say just move Detroit to the east,and just have 15 and 15 in each conference just MLB is going to do next year.just add Detroit to the Northeast Division.Then when if you add 2 more expansion teams,especially in the west,you move Columbus to the east to even it out,or move Columbus the same time when you move Detroit,and instead of having 14 in the east,you have 16 and 14 in the west.Here’s the fairest way to do this,and eliminate eastern and western conferences.Play in your division in the playoffs with 1 playing 4 and 2 playing 3,the winners meet and then when you have 4 teams left,re-seed with 1 playing 4 and 2 playing 3,and the winners meet in the finals.During the regular season also you play everyone in the other divisions each one time home and away.And the one thing you can never have in the finals in 2 teams in the same division playing each other.Here’s what I think is fair for now:

    Division 1
    Detroit Red WIngs
    Chicago Blackhawks
    Toronto Maple Leafs
    Buffalo Sabres
    Ottawa Senators

    Division 2
    New York Rangers
    New York Islanders
    Boston Bruins
    Montreal Canadiens
    New Jersey Devils

    Division 3
    Philadelphia Flyers
    Pittsburgh Penguins
    Columbus Blue Jackets
    Washington Capitals
    Carolina Hurricanes

    Division 4
    St. Louis Blues
    Nashville Predators
    Dallas Stars
    Tampa Bay Lightning
    Florida Panthers

    Division 5
    Winnipeg Jets
    Calgary Flames
    Edmonton Oilers
    Minnesota Wild
    Vancouver Canucks

    Division 6
    San Jose Sharks
    Los Angeles Kings
    Anaheim Ducks
    Colorado Avalanche
    Phoenix Coyotes

  36. swedeg - Feb 13, 2013 at 11:27 PM

    Any plan that keeps Minnesota in a division with West Coast teams is unacceptable. We fill the building up every night, you can’t keep crapping on us by sending us West and having all those games start when we can’t see them. We should be with St. Louis, Chicago, and maybe Winnipeg. If you’re going to put a team in a less than perfect division, punish those teams who don’t fill their buildings.

  37. greatminnesotasportsmind - Feb 14, 2013 at 12:23 AM

    Let me releave some of your worries everyone. Here is facts and research from the past 5 years.


    New Jersey/Rangers
    Washington misses playoffs by 1 point
    Carolina misses playofs by 3 points

    New Jersey/Pittsburgh
    Carolina misses playoffs by 2 points
    Rangers misses playoffs by 4 points

    New Jersey/Pittsburgh
    Rangers miss playoffs by 1 point

    Philadelphia/New Jersey
    Carolina misses playoffs by 2 points

    Rangers/New Jersey

    Carolina misses playoffs 3 times by total of 7 points
    4 of the 5 years the division playoff race is settled the final day of the season
    All 5 years playoff senarios are finalized on final day of season.
    Only Islanders and Carolina never made the playoffs. Only Carolina had made the playoffs 1 year during that stretch

    Florida misses playoffs by 5 points



    Tampa Bay/Montreal

    Tampa Bay misses playoffs by 5 points

    All playoff senarios are finalzed on the final day of the season 4 of 5 season
    Only Toronto missed the playoffs, which they did every year anyways.

    Chicago misses playoffs by 3 points

    Chicago/St. Louis
    Minnesota misses playoffs by 3 points
    Dallas misses playoffs by 4 points

    Chicago/St. Louis
    Dallas misses playoffs by 2 points


    St. Louis/Chicago

    Detroit/Nashville would have met in the playoffs 4 of the 5 years in the first round
    Only Winnipeg (used Atlanta’s record for their years in Atlanta) never makes the playoffs. Never did.
    Every year the standing are not finalzed until the final day of the regular season.

    San Jose/Calgary

    San Jose/Anaheim

    San Jose/Los Angeles

    San Jose/Anaheim
    Los Angeles misses playoffs by 1 point
    Calgary misses playoffs by 5 points

    Vancouver/Los Angeles
    Phoenix/San Jose
    Calgary misses playoffs by 5 points

    Only Edmonton never makes the playoffs, never did.
    4 of the 5 seasons the playoffs is not finalized until final day of season


    Washington (only had made the playoffs by 2 points) had made the playoffs, Buffalo 4 points less would be in.
    All 8 Western Conference teams that made the playoffs were in the playoffs

    Carolina and Rangers had made the playoffs that year but would be out. Florida (tied Montreal points wise and record but lose tie breakers) and Buffalo missed playoffs by 2 points would be in.
    All 8 Western Conference teams that made the playoffs were in the playoffs.

    All 8 Eastern Conference teams that made the playoffs were in the playoffs.
    Colorado would be in the playoffs (miss by 5 points), St. Louis would be out made by 5 points)

    All 8 Eastern Conference teams that made the playoffs were in the playoffs
    Lost Angeles made the playoffs by 3 points would be out of playoffs, Dallas missed by 2 point would be in.

    Washington made the playoffs by 3 points would be out, Buffalo missed by 3 points would be in.
    All 8 Western Conference teams that made the playoffs would be in the playoffs

    It’s not like we are talking about teams that are making the playoffs now that would have missed by 10 points the way it is now. The biggest differential is 5 points in any given year the past 5 years.


    Therefore it is a mith Carolina can’t complete with the Rangers/Flyers/Devils.
    It doesn’t matter the amount of teams in either conference. No conference had the same 4 teams
    make the playoffs.

    • hockeycoach1 - Feb 15, 2013 at 12:14 PM

      agree. the “same matchups every year” argument is debunked. It might have been that way in the 80s with only 21 teams, but you would get different matchups with 7 or 8 teams in each conference. I would love to see a reseeding after round 1 of the 8 winning teams in order to allow for the two best teams to meet in the final regardless of geography, but other than that it’s about the best they can do

  38. xjokerz - Feb 14, 2013 at 5:22 AM

    Looks like crap if you’re a wings fan. Stuxk with the dirt of the nhl .And I like how little travel the Atlantic division has to deal with. Keep on keeping on NHL

  39. larrybiv - Feb 14, 2013 at 8:05 AM

    It’s actually obvious to me that the 2 Florida teams are grouped with the Canadian teams and Boston because that is a major portion of visitors down south (and New Yorkers) which will help those teams sell out. Otherwise their fraked, with the possibility of Dallas and such.

  40. pastabelly - Feb 14, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    Did it make sense having the two Florida teams playing in the same division as Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and Buffalo instead of being grouped with other southern teams like Carolina, Nashville and/or Dallas?
    It’s bad enough that Boston is separated from NY and included in a division with Ottawa and Toronto, which are nowhere near Boston. It adds insult to injury to include them in a dviision with Florida and Tampa Bay and most do not make long “road trips” for hockey games in the middle of the week. This isn’t baseball or even football.

  41. joeyashwi - Feb 14, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    Obviously the NHL is looking to make it a 32 team league, 4 conferences of 8. No need to fret about the 16 teams vs. 14 teams inequality.
    Playoffs are playoffs. If a team deserves to win, they will win. There is no such thing as an easier or harder road, playoff hockey is the best in all of sports and will continue to be so.
    My main problem is rewarding teams with a shootout win the same points as a “real” win. I say make it 3 points for a regulation or OT win, 2 points for a shootout win, and 1 point for a shootout loss. This would help the teams that are truly winning their games be rewarded more and punish teams for not being able to outscore their opponent in regulation or OT. Also this would help eliminate passive, conservative play over the last 25 minutes of games, especially in the OT period. Bettman? Anyone? Discuss….

    • tmoore4075 - Feb 14, 2013 at 10:07 AM

      You are 100% on the expansion. I don’t like it but there is no doubt in my mind they will expand. I think they’ll be in Seattle, Toronto and Quebec in the next 3-5 years. Coyotes will be in one of the three and the other two will be expansion teams.

      • sw19womble - Feb 14, 2013 at 9:50 PM

        Agreed. Certainly looks that way.
        Coyotes to Seattle and two new teams in the East. (Kingston/Hamilton and Quebec)
        Although a natural new rivalry for Red Wings with the GTA team….?

        Those two conferences in the East still look a mess tho.

  42. ndrick731 - Feb 14, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    What a brilliant idea. How many sub 500 teams will make the playoffs.

    • tmoore4075 - Feb 14, 2013 at 1:23 PM

      Based off the current standings today…..none. In fact all 8 teams that are in the top 8 in the East right now would all be making the playoffs under this format. And actually Carolina wouldn’t have home ice because they play in a crap division the way they do now. In the West, the only difference would be Phoenix would be in and Dallas would not.

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Feb 14, 2013 at 1:52 PM

        I get that this year is a shortened season but are we really looking at the playoff picture already? The quarter mark of a normal season is game 21. No reason to even bother yet. Maybe in another 12 games we can have a look-see.

        Anyways I went back the past 5 seasons. The biggest difference was 5 points for a team being in compared to being out.

      • tmoore4075 - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:14 PM

        I was just using it to show that it won’t change things as drastically as people think. I can pick a different year. 2011 you do this new divisional playoff format the same 8 teams get in in the East. Seeded differently obviously but same 8 teams. In the West the Kings would have been out in 2011 and the Stars in. But the Stars only finished 3 points behind LA anyways. So a slight change but not much. And to the guys question about sub .500 teams? None. The NHL doesn’t have many of those getting in anymore.

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