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Report: NHL introduces new realignment plan

Feb 23, 2013, 9:19 PM EDT

Henrik Zetterberg AP

The NHL has tweaked its four-conference realignment proposal and could hand it to the NHLPA in the near future, Hockey Night in Canada’s Elliotte Friedman reports.

Friedman mapped out the following setup during HNIC’s Hot Stove intermission report (teams that changed conferences from the last realignment plan in bold):

Proposed realignment

“Eastern Side”

Conference 1

New Jersey
New York Islanders
New York Rangers

Conference 2

Tampa Bay

“Western Side”

Conference 3

St. Louis

Conference 4

Los Angeles
San Jose

Word of the possible tweaks surfaced on Feb. 13. At that time, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reported that the NHL’s owners could vote on the proposed changes as early as Monday (if all goes well, at least).

We’ll see if that timeline – and a number of other factors – have changed since then.

Keep in mind that this is a report, not an official announcement.


Realignment plan to be tweaked

The original realignment plan from Dec. 2011

Players want their opinions heard in realignment talks

126 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. rfcdubya - Feb 23, 2013 at 9:27 PM

    kind of makes you

    • xtb3 - Feb 24, 2013 at 2:20 PM

      if i was owner of montreal, toronto, boston, buffalo and ottawa i would vote against this,

      1- tougher than now to make the playoffs for them
      2 more travel costs
      3 22 home games against no conference teams many meaningless that fans will avoid paying to come to

      NOTE – right now 3 canadian eastern teams would make the eastern playoffs – this would never happen if bettman gets his way

  2. mclovinhockey - Feb 23, 2013 at 9:29 PM

    This is going to ruin the sport. What is with these idiotic ideas? No fan wants this.

    • lionstigersandwingsohmy - Feb 23, 2013 at 9:43 PM

      This fan loves the idea.

      • rarelyshaves - Feb 23, 2013 at 10:06 PM

        kind of sad the wings-hawks rivalry will be intrinsically altered though

      • xtb3 - Feb 24, 2013 at 4:50 PM

        what exactly do you like about it? no selfish reason such as detroit out of your teams division! do you like 44 of 84 non conference meaningless games for every team? me i like rivalry games more of them mon/bos det/chi etc tham ott/phoenix etc

      • emperorzero - Feb 24, 2013 at 5:49 PM

        I’m not a Red Wings fan and the only “natural” rival I see in their conference is Toronto.

      • dieseldeej - Feb 25, 2013 at 6:25 PM

        “the only “natural” rival I see in their conference is Toronto.”

        Montreal and Boston are as well, remember the Original 6

    • pens919209 - Feb 23, 2013 at 11:53 PM

      Doesn’t seem like you speak for very many fans.

      I love how this is shaping up… reuniting the old Patrick Division teams, dropping Detroit into the old Adams Division – that should lead to some great hockey.

      • xtb3 - Feb 24, 2013 at 1:59 PM

        with it comes 44 games against non-conference teams in meaningless in effect games at the same ticket price. since when is florida and tampa a rivalry or geographic rivalry of montreal, toronto, boston and buffalo? why after 30 years does detroit decide they are east? and the detroit/chicago 90 year real rivalry ends?

        oh a lot of canadians winter in florida and no one of the real locals like hockey so bettman whose friends own each florida team, he makes sure for 6 games combined in florida the seats are not empty.

        this is disgusting!

      • mizbinboston - Feb 24, 2013 at 4:59 PM

        Hear hear! We’ll (I’m a Wings fan) get Boston and Montreal, and FINALLY get to play in our own freakin time zone. The day after play-off games against teams like Anaheim and half the state of Michigan wanders around like zombies because we’ve all been up til 3 am watching the d@mn thing go into triple overtime. Losing the Hawks isn’t fun, but I’ll take it.
        P.S.- hope Malkin’s doing okay. Don’t like the Pens but that made me feel sick to my stomach when I heard.

    • williplett - Feb 24, 2013 at 12:50 AM

      Speak for yourself, mclovin.

      I’m a Wild fan and it would be nice to see the team compete in a logical conference/division where road games against teams in their own conference/division end before 11:45 pm local time. Tweaks might be made to make the realignment plan better, but taking the travel burden off of the Wild is a decision that was too long in coming.

      • xtb3 - Feb 24, 2013 at 2:05 PM

        oh so detroit is east and nashvile tennessee is west? tlorida and tampa bay is in the northeast or is miami in canada? very logical not!

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Feb 24, 2013 at 3:32 PM

        Nashville is in the central time zone and Detroit is in the eastern….

    • arlingtonrob - Feb 24, 2013 at 6:54 AM

      I’ve been a Blackhawk fan since the first expansion…to 12 teams…in ’68. The Hawks have moved all over the map since that time. I couldn’t care less about the “rivalry” with the Redwings. I fully endorse this plan and look forward to playing the Wild, Blues, Avs and Jets regularly.

      Makes complete sense to me.

      • xtb3 - Feb 24, 2013 at 2:11 PM

        ive seen the blackhawks when they were part of what they called the original 6 the norris family owned them as well as the detroit team. ted lindsay sent there from detroit as punishment for trying to start a players ass.

  3. rfcdubya - Feb 23, 2013 at 9:30 PM

    Kind of makes you wonder how long it is before the two Florida teams are north of the mason Dixon line

    • Kyle MacNaughton - Feb 24, 2013 at 3:22 PM

      For the Lightning, never. Don’t be ignorant.

  4. scamp516dp - Feb 23, 2013 at 9:36 PM

    Ok, keep it simple, swap Columbus for Detroit, and all is good!

  5. tampabayirish - Feb 23, 2013 at 9:36 PM

    The Tampa Bay Lightning have sold out every game. They have a great owner and a great building, They aren’t moving anywhere.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Feb 23, 2013 at 10:47 PM

      Didn’t sound right to me so I googled it to dispute your numbers, and while they haven’t sold out every game (they’re actually at 97.2%) they are 7th in the league in home attendance average at over 19,100 fans per night. Well done Lightning fans, good to see you guys showing up in such numbers!

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Feb 23, 2013 at 11:44 PM

        Panthers have been showing up as well….

      • tundo09 - Feb 24, 2013 at 12:12 AM

        You must be getting your numbers from a site that still has the TBT Forums at the old capacity. After renovations, the forum holds 19,204, which has been the paid attendance for every game this season.

        I see the Bolts and Panthers are still getting screwed. What else is new? If they are too scared to break up rivalries in the northeast, then keep the 6 division format and switch Winnipeg and Columbus. Our teams shouldn’t have to travel twice as much as anyone else in the East, that’s ridiculous.

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Feb 24, 2013 at 12:24 AM

        As long as there is a team in Sunrise next year when I move there it’s all good with me! Doesn’t matter what division. But yeah, they do get screwed

      • tundo09 - Feb 24, 2013 at 12:29 AM

        Nathan Horton scored twice for Boston to lead the Bruins to a 4-2 victory in front of an announced
        sellout crowd of 19,204 at The Forum.

        I assume you got your numbers from ESPN, which lists the average attendance at 19,204, yet has them at a 97.1 %. Something wrong with that math…

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Feb 24, 2013 at 1:03 AM

        Tundo09: yep the numbers came from ESPN, the numbers there do have to be off, since based on their own numbers they have many teams over 100% capacity. Whether its 97.1% or 100% my comment still stands, I think it’s great that fans in Tampa are showing up the way they are!

      • tundo09 - Feb 24, 2013 at 3:24 AM

        Who wouldn’t want to come see the best goal scorer in the world? :)

      • dfpoor - Feb 24, 2013 at 3:55 PM

        Who wouldn’t pay to see Stamkos?

      • dieseldeej - Feb 25, 2013 at 6:33 PM

        I don’t like where the Florida teams are either…My tweak to this plan would be to move the Florida teams, and Buffalo to the other East conference for the 3 NYC teams

  6. tbeilfuss - Feb 23, 2013 at 9:36 PM

    I LOVE this………..I CANT WAIT for the Blackhawks to meet the Canucks or Red Wings(or any other of the 23 teams) in the Stanley Cup Finals!!

    What great matchups for it all this will make.

    • bensawesomeness - Feb 23, 2013 at 9:44 PM

      He’s got a point – now there’s a potential for the Hawks and Wings to meet in the FINALS.

      • cardsandbluesforever - Feb 24, 2013 at 4:08 PM

        yup, or the Blues and Wings to meet in the finals. that would be one HELL of a stanley cup final for Wings and Blues fans- we already hate each other with a passion…

    • kitshky - Feb 23, 2013 at 11:04 PM

      How would Van and Chicago meet in Cup final?

      • you4real - Feb 23, 2013 at 11:50 PM

        If I remember correctly, the new playoff model could set up a Stanley Cup final with the two remaining teams from any division…meaning two western teams could potentially face off for the cup.

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Feb 23, 2013 at 11:52 PM

        Teams play each other in the first two rounds. Conference champion places that conferences 4th place team. 2nd plays 3rd. Winners meet.

        Those winners are randomly drawn out. So you could have a Rangers/Kings and Minnesota/Florida in the “conference finals”. Then have a Los Angeles/Minnesota Cup Finals

    • Ponsonby_Britt - Feb 24, 2013 at 9:40 PM

      That’s a great one for the plus column of this proposed re-alignment. Of course, if the ‘Hawks fail to lose, you may as well hand the cup to them at the end of the regular season.

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Feb 25, 2013 at 1:29 AM

        Cups are won in June, not February. Let’s keep it real

  7. scamp516dp - Feb 23, 2013 at 9:39 PM

    Nah, meant Nashville. Columbus or Nashville
    Do they play hockey?

  8. mclovinhockey - Feb 23, 2013 at 9:41 PM

    Considering we are 100% sure phx will fail and the Islanders won’t remain where they are, why not wait a few years and just switch the preds and jets since that would make sense

    • tbeilfuss - Feb 23, 2013 at 9:49 PM

      its about more than just location……its about making sure that the first two rounds will be rivals and that you can face any of the 22 or 23 other teams in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Feb 23, 2013 at 11:58 PM

      Islanders aren’t going anywhere. They just signed a 25 year iron clad lease in Brooklyn

  9. steelers88 - Feb 23, 2013 at 9:42 PM

    I feel bad for Columbus.

    • williplett - Feb 24, 2013 at 12:53 AM

      Don’t worry. Everybody does.

    • arlingtonrob - Feb 24, 2013 at 7:21 AM

      Ignoring the obvious…that the Bluejackets need to get ALOT better…this is great news for Columbus. Natural rivalry with PA teams will develop, and travel within the eastern time zone.

      It’s all good for the Jackets.

      Now back to that problem with talent and winning, but that’s John Davidson’s issue.

      • phillyphanatic77 - Feb 24, 2013 at 1:04 PM

        Bob has a good career record vs the Pens, but I don’t think that will last. Columbus will become the redheaded step-child of the new “Atlantic”conference. But it does work geographically. I’m on the fence about this realignment… I like the current “divisional” format but I get that certain teams don’t fit in their divisions. I just don’t like the idea of the 5th place team automatically getting left out. I mean say it finishes Pittsburgh, NYR, NJ, and Washington, and the Flyers finish 5th. But they only finish a point behind Washington, and well ahead of the 3rd and 4th teams in the other Eastern Conference. So the 3rd and 4th teams are rewarded for simply playing in a weaker conference (not saying it is, just a hypothetical)? That’s completely unfair, while under the current format the Flyers would easily be in the top 8. That’s the one aspect that really worries me. Idk how you address that under this realignment, but I see it becoming an issue at some point.

      • dieseldeej - Feb 25, 2013 at 6:39 PM

        If they would keep the 6-team/2-conference set-up, and Columbus goes East instead of Detroit, then Bettman should be fired for lying to the Wings

      • dieseldeej - Feb 25, 2013 at 6:46 PM

        phillyphanatic77- The 1-8 Conference seeding was Bettman’s idea when he became Commissioner…Until then the playoffs were ALWAYS a divisional set-up goign back to the original expansion when the Flyers, Penguins, Blues and Kings came into the league

  10. rushledger - Feb 23, 2013 at 9:44 PM

    I love how they basically come back with the same awful idea as last year you can’t evenly divide 30 teams in to for conferences take some basic math and figure it out!

    • chanceoffleury1 - Feb 23, 2013 at 9:53 PM

      It’s set up so they can add 2 expansion franchises in the future without having to do yet another realignment.

    • arlingtonrob - Feb 24, 2013 at 7:27 AM

      Speak for yourself…it’s a grand idea in my opinion. Long overdue…

    • drunk4thliners - Feb 24, 2013 at 8:33 AM

      The NHL has hinted at western expansion a few times. Not just relocation, but adding teams to balance this model. Look to see two teams in OKC, Portland or Sacramento within 5-10 years.

  11. 19to77 - Feb 23, 2013 at 9:46 PM

    Dear God, the least competitive team to the most elite division. Can’t imagine Columbus fans would enjoy this move. Then again, do they get to enjoy anything?

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Feb 24, 2013 at 12:00 AM

      Teams don’t stay crappy forever

      • 19to77 - Feb 24, 2013 at 3:21 AM

        Yeah, but generally they have something to hope for. Pittsburgh bombed their way into Lemieux, Malkin, Crosby… Columbus bombed their way into Boone Jenner. I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t get your hopes up.

      • valoisvipers - Feb 25, 2013 at 10:39 AM

        Tell that to the Toronto fans.

  12. bensawesomeness - Feb 23, 2013 at 9:48 PM

    I actually love this – i’m a Detroit fan, so getting the chance to play against 3 other Original 6 teams in a conference is amazing

    Only problem i see immediately – Chicago hates Detroit with a white hot passion, splitting up isn’t going to sit well with them

    • chicagobtech - Feb 23, 2013 at 10:16 PM

      Dunno, the idea of Chicago and Detroit duking it out over Lord Stanley’s Cup has a nice ring to it…

    • arlingtonrob - Feb 24, 2013 at 9:35 AM

      This Hawks fan says…screw the rivalry. Besides I despise the Blues more anyhow. LOL

  13. ironman721 - Feb 23, 2013 at 9:49 PM

    So I guess Detroit made these up because the only team they have to beat now in their division is Boston. Meanwhile all the other good teams in the east have to slug it out in a stacked division. This is really weak!

    • arlingtonrob - Feb 24, 2013 at 7:30 AM

      I luv the idea of realignment, and think it’s wayyyy overdue. Regarding the makeup of the teams back east, there’s plenty of room for debate. I like the general outline. The western “conferences” make perfect sense, and as a Hawks fan…perfect.

    • clefty1 - Feb 24, 2013 at 12:01 PM

      Maybe you should deal with the late game western starts like the Wings and their fans have to do.

      • Ponsonby_Britt - Feb 24, 2013 at 9:52 PM

        Another one in the plus column for the realignment. Can’t think of too many negatives, though it will be surreal to see the Wings in the East.

  14. mclovinhockey - Feb 23, 2013 at 9:52 PM

    Conference 1, all the teams but the jackets and islanders tend to be top 8 in the east only 4 make it

    Conference 2: Boston and Detroit always make the playoffs…. So 2 not as good teams will get in over the better therms in conference 1 making the playoffs not have the best teams in it.

    Horrific. Sorry for all the rants, this is just stupid

  15. scamp516dp - Feb 23, 2013 at 9:55 PM

    LIFO and FISH. Last in first out versus first in still here. Original SIX has some credence, and due respect!

  16. Stiller43 - Feb 23, 2013 at 10:04 PM

    Wtf? Why dont they just do east and west with 3 divisions in each?

    That way the numbers would be even all around. Its not that hard…take the 15 most eastern teams and make that the east…make all the most northeastern teams in the “northeast divsion” and likewise with the southeast. Then the other 5 are in a divsion named whatever ya want (like atlantic, currently…).

    Same for the west and BLAMMO. Why do they keep making this harder than it is?

    How would they work the playoffs? 16 teams in the east and 14 in the west? Would a higher percentage of teams make it in the west?

    • arlingtonrob - Feb 24, 2013 at 7:37 AM

      I believe the idea of expansion/relocation factors into this arrangement. Exactly how I do not know…but there is more to this than meets the eye.

  17. chanceoffleury1 - Feb 23, 2013 at 10:05 PM

    I am SHOCKED they moved Detroit. They lead the West in road attendance, and there are already 6 eastern teams ahead of them. The east really doesn’t need another high-profile team. Plus you get rid of the Chicago-Detroit rivalry. I would have expected Nashville to be moved before Detroit.

    • dieseldeej - Feb 25, 2013 at 6:53 PM

      When Toronto moved to the East, Bettman told Detroit they would go East “when the need arose”, that happened when Atlanta moved to Winnipeg

  18. gbar22 - Feb 23, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    Hate this. The NHL always screwing up good things.

  19. jimw81 - Feb 23, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    Detroit shouldn’t be in the east. it would break up the rivalry with Chicago. putting Detroit in the east is just pandering to the owners.they advocated this move.

  20. canucks30 - Feb 23, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    So the Quebec Nordiques will be playing in the Pacific next season. Makes sense

    • sabatimus - Feb 23, 2013 at 10:17 PM

      Oh wait, I forgot it was 1990 too.

    • arlingtonrob - Feb 24, 2013 at 7:39 AM

      The return of the Nordiques is only an idea, not a fact. Seattle and KC, like it or not, remain real possibilities.

  21. steelers88 - Feb 23, 2013 at 10:24 PM

    I like the idea but I would put Detroit, TB, PIT, PHI, NYR, NJ, and Washington in one conference. I would put BOS, CBJ, FLA, NYI, TOR, OTT, MTL,and BUF in one conference.

  22. jkulha86 - Feb 23, 2013 at 10:35 PM

    Lightning and the Panthers really get shafted in this. But, if the NHL wants to keep traditional rivalries of Conference 1 alive, they really don’t have many options.

  23. dkphilly1122 - Feb 23, 2013 at 10:39 PM

    As long as they keep the best rivalry together it works for me……Flyers and Pens…..those games NEVER let either fans down. Two of the most passionate fan bases in Hockey!! As much as I hate the Pens…….I respect them and there fans and live for those games.

  24. xjokerz - Feb 23, 2013 at 10:49 PM

    Love it !

  25. zetaone - Feb 23, 2013 at 11:07 PM

    Why do they need 4 separate conferences? Or 6 divisions?


    No more 7th place teams having more points than 3rd place division leaders.

    Each team plays conference opponents 4 times each (56 conference games). The remaining 26 games vs. the other conference.

    Top 8 in each make the playoffs.


    • dieseldeej - Feb 25, 2013 at 6:58 PM

      The NBA is able to get all 30 teams to play in each arena at least once, why shouldn’t the NHL be able to?

  26. beerjunkie69 - Feb 23, 2013 at 11:08 PM

    I like it. Now SFU.

  27. howintensive - Feb 23, 2013 at 11:28 PM

    The playoffs solution is pretty simple. Just give the top 2 teams in each conference autobids, and the rest get in based on record. You can split the bracket by east and west if you want. It’s highly unlikely that there will be 6-7 teams in a conference that all wouldn’t qualify for the playoffs.

    • arlingtonrob - Feb 24, 2013 at 7:47 AM

      Top 4 in each conference hash it out, so rivalries develop, the the 4 “conference” winners are reseeded and play 2 rounds for the cup.


  28. howintensive - Feb 23, 2013 at 11:30 PM

    Also, all they had to do was just move either Columbus or Detroit to the East. That allows for an expansion team in each region.

  29. zajdelmarc - Feb 23, 2013 at 11:44 PM

    I wish people would check facts before posting instead of just posting they are mad about certain rivalries!! There will only be realignment with Detroit and Columbus going to the Eastern Conference!! Detroit was the franchise ownership that wanted the realignment to start with claiming they were playing with a disadvantage and Columbus also wants in the east and without Columbus vote Detroit cant get enough owner approval let alone the players. Truth be told i’d rather see nashville in the east since well there in the east and Detroit stay in the west since well they are further west than any other teams currently in the east. But Detroit is the goldenboy franchise so theyll get their way

    • clefty1 - Feb 24, 2013 at 11:59 AM

      The Wings and their fans have been putting up with the NHL nonsense of keeping them in the west. Lets see you deal with your favorite team having west coast rips during the regular season and playoffs plus having 10/10 30 game time starts…I suggest you take a look at the overall picture…

  30. comeonnowguys - Feb 24, 2013 at 12:02 AM

    I seriously thought, “Well, at least they couldn’t do worse than their last proposal.” Really should have known better.

    They went from screwing Detroit to completely throwing bouquets at them, guaranteeing them the playoffs every year.

    And they still have the Florida teams in the northeastern division.

    And if Phoenix moves to Quebec or Ontario instead of Seattle?

    Seriously, the NHL’s HR department needs to have whomever came up with this fill a cup for testing.

  31. dan46778 - Feb 24, 2013 at 12:05 AM

    Any time that can keep the original 6 together is a great idea

    • comeonnowguys - Feb 24, 2013 at 7:49 AM

      Well, it’s a good thing they’re not stranding one of them in the West by themselves and taking away their longtime divisional rival. No, wait…

  32. jacketspeanutgallery - Feb 24, 2013 at 12:48 AM

    This is the best realignment proposal to date and all teams ought to be satisfied. Here is how I see some of the major questions addressed:


    No problem! Use a wildcard format to even out the playoff chances in a 7 team conferences and 8 team conferences. Benchmark with the other major sports leagues.


    No problem! If and when these are the next 2 expansion franchises, then simply take the 2 new Eastern Conferences of 7 teams each and split them into 3 Eastern Conferences at the time of the expansion. So, then we would have the 2 Western Conferences (as proposed) with 7 teams and 3 Eastern Conferencs with 6 teams each. Use the wild-card format to even out the playoff chances.

    CONF 1 – Quebec City, Montreal, Boston, Toronto, Buffalo, Detroit

    CONF 2 – Markham, Ottawa, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New Jersey

    CONF 3 – NY Islanders, NY Rangers, Washington, Carolina, Florida, Tampa Bay

    CONF 4 – Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis, Winnipeg

    CONF 5 – Anaheim, Calgary, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver


    No problem! If and when these are the next 2 expansion franchises, then simply add them to the 2 new Western Conferences of 7 teams that will bring their number up to 8 teams each. This will mean 2 Western Conferences with 8 teams and 2 Eastern Conferencs with 8 teams.


    No problem! If this franchise moves then it will most likely go to Seattle and the conferences would need no tweaking.

    So, the NHL and NHLPA should get this approved and get on with other business!

    Doktor Z

    • ml3939 - Feb 24, 2013 at 1:04 AM

      There is no way they separate the Rangers from the Flyers, Pens and Devils.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Feb 24, 2013 at 1:31 AM

      1. The “Eastern” teams should have 8 teams compared to the “Western” teams. The travel difference between the 2 is reason enough to make it fair.

      2. Quebec and Markham are not even close to done deals yet. So why bother realigning with them in mind when they don’t even exist yet. Good to think about, but at the moment, those 2 cities are as relivant as Hartford and Atlanta.

      3. NHL hasn’t said anything about expansion. However, it looks inevitable. But until then, why bother with it now. That’s like the equalivant of an 12 year old thinking about having a baby. It’s a long ways away.

      4. What if Phoenix doesn’t move? What if Phoenix moves to say, Seattle, would realignment really be needed??

  33. tbbolts91 - Feb 24, 2013 at 1:14 AM

    They broke up Washington and the Bolts, which I found to be our only division rival (Carolina is gone too, and florida is no competition, lets be honest) I can see it on my TV already: “Tampa Bay Lightning take on division rival Ottawa Senators tomorrow night” wtf

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Feb 24, 2013 at 1:35 AM

      Florida is “no competiton” yet they won the division last year??

  34. thomaspratt - Feb 24, 2013 at 2:06 AM

    1) I keep hearing about how they will divide the teams, but not a word about whether they still plan to have teams play every other team, home and away. That is way more important to me than the actual alignment of teams.

    2) I am happy to see the Canucks would be free of the Wild and Avs and would instead be paired with the California teams. Better competition and more chances to travel to California for road trips. Selfishly, I’d love to see Winnipeg in the same division as Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton, but I suppose it would be a time zone nightmare for Jets fans — too many road games starting after 8 locally.

    3) The wild card thing is a no brainer. You could solve some of the conference imbalance concerns with some sort of a crossover. You could have a wild card weekend, where all the 4th and 5th seeded teams in a conference play a game to determine who will play the top seed in that conference.

    4) I prefer the conference playoff structure, like they had in the 80s. Hopefully with four larger conferences, they’ll avoid the repetitiveness that sank the 80s alignment.

  35. xtb3 - Feb 24, 2013 at 4:06 AM

    What story purposely does not say is that say in an 8 team
    conference” who you compete with for 4 playoff spots or 7 other teams plus your team =8/ Leaves then 22 teams all of which Bettman now will have you play once at home and once on the road or 22 times 2 equals 44 games. IE more than half your games will be against teams not even in your conference. This is insanity. NFL plays 4 of 16 against teams you arent competing for a playoff in any form, MLB about 20 of 162 games.

    See how great hockey is right now as every game against teams you are really competing with for a spot in playoffs day in day out.

    And this story and talking heads purposely avoid this fact. NHA/NHL, MLB, NFL combined for over 300 years have NEVER has 4 CONFERENCES – BUT nEW yAHKIE bETTMAN KNOWS BETTER AS THE LOT OF THEM KNEW NOTHING teah right@

  36. pensfan603 - Feb 24, 2013 at 7:33 AM

    Detroit to confrence three, it has nothing to do with detriot not being able to make rivalries in D1 its just, there are alot of teams lacking a rival in D3 and detroit could easily fix that.

    • clefty1 - Feb 24, 2013 at 12:06 PM

      How about the Pens to the west so you can deal with late starting regular season and playoff games…

  37. gotampabay52 - Feb 24, 2013 at 9:02 AM

    Some of you all are sports fans some of you all are haters. Tampa has always supported Hockey over Basesball and Tampa will support the Bucs when owners gives a good team. So take They Rays away and Tampa can support Hockey and Football. We got all springtraining games. ok back to hockey “IT DOESN’T MATTER WHERE YOU PUT THE BOLTS WE WILL FIGHT.” to t idoit above mason dixon whatever2004 stantley cup champs HOCKEY BAY WILL NEVER BACK DOWN

    • kaptaanamerica - Feb 24, 2013 at 10:53 AM

      The ignorant don’t know that Tampa has solid ownership. The panthers ownership makes money on all the surrounding real estate and get breaks for keeping the panthers in Florida.those teams will not move at all.Its always fool Canadians getting their panties twisted who complain about these things.not all Canadians just the fools.

  38. sprtsfan1 - Feb 24, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    I like the idea of Chicago and Detroit in the Stanley Cup Finals, but the rivalry will be over. A sad day in the world of a lot Blackhawks and Wings fans.

    • dieseldeej - Feb 25, 2013 at 7:07 PM

      More Original 6 games for both teams, is a GOOD idea

  39. jpat2424 - Feb 24, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    I hate it

  40. sprtsfan1 - Feb 24, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    There’s not a single Canadian team in Conference 1???? Conference 2 has three, Conference 3 has one, and Conference 4 has three. What are these guys thinking?

  41. xtb3 - Feb 24, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    If iy aint broke dont fix it! NHL standings, playoff structure is NOT BROKEN OR A PROBLEM.

    Move Winnipeg to the west and Nasville Tennessee to the east. And if they want Winnipeg wit those western Canadian teams switch spots between ne Winnipeg and Colorado.

    Breaking up Chi/Det rivalry that has lasted 90 years is insane too.\\44 games vs. teams outside your own conference makes me think Bettman has another reason to empty seats in the future in cities who really love hockey. I want to see more Mont/Tor and Mont/Bos etc NOT Mont/ Col etc et all 44 times.

    • lionstigersandwingsohmy - Feb 24, 2013 at 7:46 PM

      So you would move a team in located in the central time zone to the eastern conference and leave two teams
      located in the eastern time zone in the western conference? Makes no sense to me.

  42. mclovinhockey - Feb 24, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    Expansion is a horrible idea on its own. We already have too many failing teams sucking money away from profiting teams. That’s why we had a lockout. Adding more teams will just hurt us.
    Expanding to the west in the US even puts more of a strain on us. There are very few good western fan bases in the league. Adding more teams to areas like Seattle or Oregon just seems like it will put the NHL in more trouble.

    If the NHL does expand, I would look toward QC and Hamilton as places to expand to. Both of them are in the east in areas that can support hockey teams and would spark instant rivalries.
    However since phx should move to QC and if another team gets sold later it will most likely also be in the east, this realignment would have to be redone again.

    Having uneven amounts of of teams in divisions for now is also a horrible horrible idea. 4 conferences also highly limits the amount of games each team will see 3/4ths of the league. Teams like Philly have also started up pretty decent rivalries with teams like Boston and Montreal. Now they will see each team once or twice a year. This is just a horrible horrible idea especially when the answer is so simple by just switching Winnipeg with the jackets or Nashville or the wild.

  43. pensfan603 - Feb 24, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    Wait for the Nordiques to come back then restructure.

  44. clefty1 - Feb 24, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    This is a great idea. Living around the Detroit area it sucks having the Wings going on west coast ( US and Canada) trips during the regular season and playoffs plus having games start at 10/ 10 30. It is long overdue to have the Wings in the eastern conference where they belong plus seeing the Leafs, Habs and Bruins would be nice though we would lose the rivalry with the Hawks but I would much rather have the Wings in the east, the Wings would also have alot less travel. I sure would like to see how many fans of teams on the east coast would like having their favorite team playing in the western conference.

  45. isithockeyseasonyet - Feb 24, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    I see the point but I don’t like it, something about it just seems forced to me, I like and hate the idea of the red wings in the eastern conference, I like it because they’re fun to watch, I hate it because they’re always good ha

  46. contraryguy - Feb 24, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    I suggested these very changes the last time this thread came up. 8 teams in Eastern divs, 7 in Western ones, time zones respected (not much could be done about Colorado for that). Cbus goes East, which is where they should be. Jackets/Pens will be a much livelier series than Jackets/Wings, with more of Pittsburgh’s sports fans in the area.

    So NHL, for my next suggestion… cheaper beer prices?

  47. kingsforever - Feb 24, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    This is bad

  48. chrisk61 - Feb 24, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    a few objective observations, coming from a long-time flyers seasn ticket holder:

    1. seems it is largely time zone-driven
    2. and also shows detroit, in switching to east, has influence at league level in such matters. although det probably wanted to go to conf with the PA and NY teams, but that conf would have been too competitive.
    3. it actually tries to help the FL teams — panthers and lightning — by taking advantage of the large number of canadians who come to FL in the winter. having more gms vs canadian teams will help attendance.
    4. it doesn’t bode well for queb city or markham — eastern cities — getting a team. if phoe moves, the numbers suggest it will be a western city, specifically seattle.

  49. juliath83 - Feb 24, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    So, the East has 16 teams but the West has 14? Stupid stupid stupid. Either Bettman will be contracting Columbus and Florida, or more likely doing expansion, watering down the NHL product even more. With bonehead decisions like this and the lockout, I’m slowly becoming more disenchanted with the NHL every day.

    • tmoore4075 - Feb 25, 2013 at 3:02 PM

      There is no East and there is no West anymore. It’s 4 conferences. Two with 7 and two with 8. Where those conferences happen to land geographically doesn’t matter anymore.

  50. buffalomafia - Feb 24, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    I would like to see Buffalo & Philly in same division?

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