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More proposed realignment changes: Two conferences, four divisions

Feb 26, 2013, 3:15 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, TSN is reporting the latest realignment proposal is back to two conferences — Western and Eastern — with four divisions.

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division

Carolina
Columbus
New Jersey
New York Islanders
New York Rangers
Philadelphia
Pittsburgh
Washington

Central Division

Boston
Buffalo
Detroit
Florida
Montreal
Ottawa
Tampa Bay
Toronto

Western Conference

Mid-West Division

Chicago
Colorado
Dallas
Minnesota
Nashville
St. Louis
Winnipeg

Pacific Division

Anaheim
Calgary
Edmonton
Los Angeles
Phoenix
San Jose
Vancouver

Per TSN:

The playoff format calls for the top three teams in each division to earn post-season berths. The remaining four spots would go to wild-card teams, the top two records remaining in each conference. That means there’s a possibility five teams make it from one division and only three from another.

It would be divisional playoffs, not conference playoffs, so 1 vs. 4, 2 vs 3 in the first round. The two fourth seeds would be made up of the wild-card teams. The top division winner based on regular-season points in the standings would face off against the lower-ranked wild-card team. The other division winner would play the higher-ranked wild-card.

First-round winners then meet in second round in the division championship; Third round sees Pacific winner vs. Mid-West winner in Western Conference finals; Central winner versus Atlantic winner in Eastern Conference finals; Eastern and Western Conference champions meet in Stanley Cup finals.

The above plan still needs to be approved by the NHLPA and the NHL Board of Governors.

According to CBC’s Elliotte Friedman, if the plan goes ahead, the league and union will meet after the 2015-16 season, “or earlier if circumstances warrant,” (translation: if there’s expansion or relocation) to decide if the system needs to be altered.

As for the regular-season schedule, Friedman reports:

It depends on whether you’re in a seven- or eight-team conference.

For the sevens (Midwest and Pacific) it looks like this:

  • 32 games vs. Eastern Conference (one home, one away vs. each opponent).
  • 21 games vs. other division in Western Conference (teams with the extra home game will be rotated every season).
  • 29 games vs. own division (you will play one team four times instead of five).

For the eights (Atlantic and Central), it looks like this:

  • 28 games vs. Western Conference (one home, one away).
  • 24 games vs. other division in Eastern Conference (teams with the extra home game will be rotated every season).
  • 30 games vs. own division (you’ll play two teams five times, and five teams four times).
  1. steelers88 - Feb 26, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    Okay that’s a TERRIBLE IDEA!

  2. sjsharks86 - Feb 26, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    If they’re Divisional playoffs with a format of “so 1 vs. 4, 2 vs 3 in the first round” and “there’s a possibility five teams make it from one division and only three from another”, then hows that gonna work out? Hopefully TSN is reporting in error, otherwise these realignment proposals are just getting retarded.

    • sjsharks86 - Feb 26, 2013 at 3:29 PM

      Nevermind, apparently its MY ability to read that’s retarded here.

  3. domerboyirish - Feb 26, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    Not having Chicago and Detroit in the same division is stupid. Not having them in the same conference is criminal!

    • jakreidler - Feb 26, 2013 at 3:33 PM

      It’s very tempting to see the Red Wings in the eastern conference in a division with Toronto and Boston, but at the same time to lose the rivalries with Chicago, Colorado, and St. Louis? As a wings fan, I have to admit I’m torn.

      • tmoore4075 - Feb 26, 2013 at 3:43 PM

        Not much a rivalry between the Wings and Avs anymore. The other two I will miss but I won’t miss the late games.

      • gekkoguy82 - Feb 27, 2013 at 8:19 AM

        I’ll be disappointed to lose Nashville as well. I think the Preds and Wings have developed a pretty nice rivalry over the years, an underrated one, in my opinion.

    • bensawesomeness - Feb 26, 2013 at 3:34 PM

      This way, we can meet in the finals. for the cup. with everything on the line.

      Can’t tell me you don’t wanna see THAT

      • domerboyirish - Feb 26, 2013 at 4:14 PM

        While that would be great, the odds of it happening are so slim. We would be reduced down to a home and home every year. That would suck. Hawks / Wings regular season games are special games. I don’t want to see them go away. Send Nashville east! Keep Detroit where it belongs!

      • ron05342 - Feb 26, 2013 at 5:14 PM

        That’s not going to happen for the next several years, as Los Angeles will be representing the West in the SC Finals for the foreseeable future.

  4. buddysguys - Feb 26, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    why is Florida and TB in the “central” division and Columbus is in the Atlantic???

    • therealjr - Feb 26, 2013 at 3:37 PM

      Because FL and TB are always going to be outliers.

      Why are there 8 Eastern time zone teams in the Central? Oh for the days where geography didn’t have to be reflected in the division name.

      • rca26 - Feb 26, 2013 at 3:44 PM

        It still doesn’t make sense for those teams to have to fly past the ENTIRE Atlantic Division just to get to a divisional rival.

  5. tonyp13 - Feb 26, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    What happens when 5 teams from the Atlantic make the playoffs? how is there a divisional matchup, or does one play against the other division winner?

    • tmoore4075 - Feb 26, 2013 at 4:14 PM

      If the #1 in the Atlantic is the #1 overall in the East they would face off the lowest team so the 5th placed team in the Atlantic. The #1 team from the Central would then play the 4th placed team in the Atlantic. The #2 would play the #3 in the Atlantic and the #2 would play the #3 in the Central.

      Make sense?

  6. quizguy66 - Feb 26, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    7 teams with 29 division games hmmm.

    7 teams times 29 = 203
    divided by 2 (since 2 teams play in each game) = 101.5 games played within the Pacific Division.

    Not gonna work, guys.

    -QG

    • samsonsimpson9 - Feb 27, 2013 at 12:28 PM

      this is correct…one team would play the other 6 five times

  7. broadstbully33 - Feb 26, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    Excited to see Detroit out east if only it was 5 years ago and had more time to watch datsyuk dazzle. I watch a ton of Detroit games on NHL network just to see him play.

    • bensawesomeness - Feb 26, 2013 at 8:12 PM

      Getting to see him play game-in and game-out is pretty special – i was at a game the other night and even just watching him warm up was awe inspiring what he was doing with the puck

  8. c1md6 - Feb 26, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    It’s going to look pretty weird having Detroit in the East after they’ve been such a Western conference juggernaut for all these years.

    • elrock7 - Feb 26, 2013 at 7:33 PM

      Juggernaut because except for the last 2 or 3 years their division was HORRIBLE! A couple teams finally got better and now look where Detroit is.

      It will be bad for Wings in East.

      • bensawesomeness - Feb 26, 2013 at 8:18 PM

        Lets see, over the last 5 years, i’ve heard either coaches, players, or front office guys, from St. Loius, Columbus, Chicago, and Nashville ALL say something to the tune of ‘ We wouldn’t be where we were if it wasn’t for playing Detroit so often…looking over and seeing how it’s done”

        Other teams around us have gotten better while we’ve been rebuilding and making the playoffs.

        I’m not worried about the Wings in the East, i’m looking forward to not having to stay up til 1 for games to be over

  9. tmoore4075 - Feb 26, 2013 at 3:49 PM

    I was confused but not anymore. It’s a little complicated but blame the PA for that. The last proposal in December 2011 made it so most games were in your own division and you played the rest of the teams once at home and once on the road. Still get that here so that’s good. The playoffs were 1-4 in each division whether it was a 7 team division or 8. The PA didn’t like that. So now it’s the top 3 teams from each division and then the the final spots are taken by the next two best teams in each conference. So you could have 5 teams from the Pacific and 3 from the Midwest. If the top Midwest team is #1 overall they would play the 5th placed team in the Pacific. Then then #1 team in the Pacific would face the #4 team in the Pacific and then the 2 and 3 seeds from each would play each other.

    I THINK this is why Detroit and Columbus moved to the East under the new proposal. Under the original playoff format it was all in division/conference so Detroit or CBJ wouldn’t be going to the west cost in the first two rounds. Under this proposal they could go to Cali in round 1, which defeated a lot of what they were trying to accomplish.

  10. Stiller43 - Feb 26, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    Why would tampa be with the canadian teams? Their stipudity astounds me.

    It should look like this:

    Eastern Conference

    Northeast:

    – Toronto
    – Ottowa
    – Montreal
    – Buffalo
    – Boston

    Southeast:

    – Tampa
    – Florida
    – Carolina
    – Washington
    – Columbus

    Atlantic:

    – Philly
    – Pittsburgh
    – Rangers
    – Islanders
    – New Jersey

    Western Conference

    Northwest:

    – Vancouver
    – Calgary
    – Edmonton
    – San Jose
    – Winnipeg

    Southwest:

    – Los Angeles
    – Anahiem
    – Colorado
    – Phoenix
    – Dallas

    Midwest:

    – Chicago
    – Detroit
    – Minnesota
    – Nashville
    – St Louis

    • tmoore4075 - Feb 26, 2013 at 4:00 PM

      Because they were trying to eliminate travel. Under that that you have Winnipeg and Dallas(central timezone) both playing with Mountain and Pacific timezone teams. The playoffs were going to divisional to keep the travel down as well. Columbus also doesn’t fit into the SE division. If you were moving them East you would want to put them in the Atlantic to be with Pitt (which couldn’t happen because you’d have to remove a team from that division now which you couldn’t/wouldn’t) who they are somewhat close to geographically and good teams. Under your idea you would be taking them away from Detroit, Chicago and St Louis and replacing those games with FLA, TBL and Carolina. That wouldn’t exactly draw more fans in.

      • Stiller43 - Feb 26, 2013 at 6:32 PM

        If you look at a map of the teams, the west (my west) is made up of strictly the 15 western most teams. Same way (inverse) way with the east. Then group then based strictly on distance.

        Tell me which way it fits better (under a two conference 3 division per conference setup, because i hate the proposed setup)

    • danaking - Feb 26, 2013 at 4:00 PM

      Can I like tis more than once. Juggling the existing division structure is all that’s needed. What they have works fine.

      • mpg44 - Feb 26, 2013 at 11:08 PM

        But they went to a conference playoff system to eliminate the division setup. Now they want to go back to it? Keep the setup the way it is , shuffle a few around for travels sake . Get rid of the division winners taking the top spots , and make it solely based on your regular season record !

  11. rushledger - Feb 26, 2013 at 3:54 PM

    The more I try and be open minded about the idea the more stupid things I find out and hate it.

  12. smgraff4 - Feb 26, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    Do not call the conferences by their geographical names. None of them make any sense whatsoever. If the NHL is smart, they would bring back the named of the divisions–Patrick, Adams, Campbell, Norris; or perhaps Gretzky, Howe, Roy, Bowman–as the division names for all the hockey fans in more recent times.

    • edzo82270 - Feb 26, 2013 at 4:36 PM

      Roy? Really? Dryden over Roy. Orr over both. Right idea, wrong name.

      • mpg44 - Feb 26, 2013 at 11:10 PM

        I do agree , the old names need to come back. It most as it we have forgotten our own history!! NEVER FORGET WHERE YOU HAVE BEEN , OR HOW YOU GOT THERE!!!

  13. patrickdduffy - Feb 26, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    Since Bettman is just throwing up any fantasy as a possibility, here’s a better one:

    European style-breakdown.

    All 30 play a home and away, top 10 make playoffs.

  14. nhstateline - Feb 26, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    Ok so what is Boston in the Central region of ? The space between Europe and Asia or Europe and South America ? Montreal, same deal. Columbus meanwhile is no closer to the Atlantic than Buffalo is. Call these things something else otherwise they’re going to end up as the butt of NFC west like jokes.

    Personally, I liked it better the year that each team played its in division rivals four times and the other conference enough to make up the bulk of the schedule with limited exposure to the other conference. As a Bruin fan I like that but I get why fans in Western Conference cities wouldn’t want to go back to that. As much as I’d like 8 games a year with the Leafs, Habs, Sens and Sabres, it’s hard to build a truly national league doing that. A lot of the Eastern Conference teams are such good draws that having them play more games in marginal markets is good for the league as a whole (also why I’m not complaining about Tampa and Florida being in the same division with Boston and Montreal. It’s good for the game, even if it isn’t good for us fans in these cities).

  15. quizguy66 - Feb 26, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    Somebody thumbed down a comment where I pointed out the NHL can’t do simple arithmetic?

    Please tell me how you’d make a schedule for 7 teams that has each one playing exactly 29 divisional games.

    -QG

    • scoocha - Feb 27, 2013 at 12:29 AM

      So, terrible at math…the reason people have thumbed down your comment:

      In a 7 team league/division, Team A plays the other 6 teams, they don’t play themselves.

      New math: (6 * 29)/2 = 87.

    • macjacmccoy - Feb 28, 2013 at 10:45 PM

      Team A
      Team B plays Team A 5 times
      Team C plays Team A 5 times
      Team D plays Team A 5 times
      Team E plays Team A 5 times
      Team F plays Team A 5 times
      Team G plays Team A 4 times

      5+5+5+5+5+4=29

  16. quizguy66 - Feb 26, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    When the NHL figures out that they don’t know how to do math, what I’m sure they’ll end up doing is this for the Western Conference Divisions:

    Pacific Divsion:
    5 games against each other Pacific Division team (30 games)
    3 games against 6 Midwest Division teams, 2 games against 1 Midwest Division team (20 games)
    2 games against each Eastern Conference team (32 games)

    Midwest Divsion:
    5 games against each other Midwest Division team (30 games)
    3 games against 6 Pacific Division teams, 2 games against 1 Pacific Division team (20 games)
    2 games against each Eastern Conference team (32 games)

    -QG

    • scoocha - Feb 27, 2013 at 12:30 AM

      A, no – looks like when you learn arithmetic.

  17. gbar22 - Feb 26, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    Yeah but there are still two more teams in the east which makes zero sense

  18. dadawg77 - Feb 26, 2013 at 4:22 PM

    Its all about time zones and not travel distance. Eastern teams are all EST, Midwest is CST & MNT while the Pacific is all PST. This way Det and Col(EST) won’t have to broadcast as many games with a PST opponent. Especially playoff games which should help boost ratings.

  19. gbar22 - Feb 26, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    Are the planning expansion? But the only cities I ever hear about are primarily east so that still doesn’t work out. Quebec going to go to the west? Really they should just leave Detroit out west add Seattle and call it a day

  20. edzo82270 - Feb 26, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    Based on best scenarios per geographical location:
    Wales Conference
    NORTHEAST- Boston, Montreal, Quebec (Florida), Ottawa, Buffalo
    ATLANTIC – NYR, NYI, NJ, Philidelphia, Pittsburgh
    SOUTH – Washington, Columbus, Carolina, Nashville, Tampa

    Campbell Conference
    CENTRAL – Detroit, Chicago, Toronto, St.Louis, Minnesota
    MIDWEST – Dallas, Phoenix, Anahiem, LA, Colorado
    WEST – San Jose, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnepeg

    Play in your division h/a 5X = 40 games
    Play other 2 divisions in your conference h/a 1X = 20 games
    Play 2 divisions in other conference h/a 1X = 20 games
    Play 2 of 3 divisions in other conference on rotating basis, similar to NFL set up.

  21. r3alta1k - Feb 26, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    Why so complicated? And please, conference playoffs, not divisional!

  22. rushledger - Feb 26, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    Detroit, Tampa bay, and Florida in the same “conference” that makes sense

  23. steelers88 - Feb 26, 2013 at 5:08 PM

    I’m really confused. Why don’t they just move Detroit over to the Eastern Conference?

  24. blockedshotnyr - Feb 26, 2013 at 5:52 PM

    Swap Winnipeg and Nashville and leave current format until expansion – with Quebec and Seattle added…

    Post-Expansion:

    Eastern Conference

    Northeast
    Ottawa
    Toronto
    Montreal
    Quebec

    Atlantic
    Boston
    NY Rangers
    NJ Devils
    NY Islanders

    Mid-American
    Pittsburgh
    Philadelphia
    Buffalo
    Washington

    Southeast
    Nashville
    Carolina
    Tampa Bay
    Florida

    Western

    Central
    Detroit
    Chicago
    St. Louis
    Columbus

    Midwest
    Minnesota
    Colorado
    Dallas
    Winnipeg

    Southwest
    San Jose
    Phoenix
    Anaheim
    Los Angeles

    Northwest
    Vancouver
    Seattle
    Edmonton
    Calgary

    78 Game season – 10 games versus division opponents (30); 6 games against one division rotating division in conference every year (30+24=54), and 2 games versus the other two divisions in conference (54+8+8=70); and 2 games versus division out of conference with division rotating every year (70+8).

    Playoffs divided by conference so East v. West Final maintained. Division winners are guaranteed a playoff spot, but not home ice – seeding by points only.

    In all honesty, if expansion is in the plans – the league should just wait… If not, there’s no real way to satisfy every team. Plus, I think the new playoff system idea is an absolute trainwreck.

    • desertfan - Mar 5, 2013 at 7:51 AM

      Buffalo belongs with all NY teams and Columbus MUST be with Detroit.

  25. shortsxit34 - Feb 26, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    So the NHLPA was against the idea of the uneven 7/8 team divisions before because of the unfair chances in making the playoffs. But now they’re not only in agreement, they’re in agreement with both 8team divisions being in the West?

    How is an 8/14 chance of making the playoffs in the East not a huge advantage over the 8/16 chance of making the playoffs in the West?

    • macjacmccoy - Feb 28, 2013 at 10:52 PM

      Your backwards the East has 16 teams and the West has 14.

  26. shortsxit34 - Feb 26, 2013 at 6:10 PM

    BTA, obvious mixup on my Conference namss. West has 14, East has 16.

  27. nhlol12345 - Feb 26, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    Someone please explain to me how this reduces travel or establishes divisional rivalries. Currently we play 6 games against division rivals. This new scenario will lower that to 5 or 4, depending on the team. Also for the “Midwest” teams, since they play the Pacific 3 times, that means 2 west coast road trips for all the teams in the Central time zone. (Not the central division, which is horribly named)
    So, let’s look at it this way…

    Say Vancouver wins the Pacific with the best points in the conference, and Nashville is the last playoff wildcard, with the lowest points. It would be Nashville vs. Vancouver in the first round.

    WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?! Nashville is expected to finish out the playoffs against the rest of the Pacific teams? So they would face the winner of LA and San Jose? So much for eliminating travel and time zone problems.
    And “divisional playoffs”. Seriously, only the NHL could screw this up so bad. Only the Eastern conference will like these scenarios.

  28. mbhockey13 - Feb 26, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    Adams, Patrick, Norris, and Smythe, or go home.

    • banshee950 - Feb 26, 2013 at 6:51 PM

      right on, I can’t under stand why we are talking about wild cards and playing wiht the format when the old system was great for a division league. the mere mention of wild cards makes my skin crawl, instant replay too, whats next a glowy puck comet thing and fighting robots.

      • banshee950 - Feb 26, 2013 at 6:51 PM

        oops, “4 division league”

      • nhlol12345 - Feb 26, 2013 at 6:56 PM

        Exactly. If you want to do this 4 division thing (which I am TOTALLY for) either do it FULL division only for first two rounds, or just leave the playoff seeding as is. Division winners get top 2 spots, everyone else is seeded accordingly.

  29. nhlol12345 - Feb 26, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    Also, I dont want to “revisit this” in 2015. Do it right, now, or just wait until expansion happens to get it right. Just swap Detroit and Winnipeg until you can get this right. I am 100% in favor of the divisional playoffs. Its exciting. This hybrid is terrible. Seriously….wild cards? Switching divisions? Unbelievable. The NHL had a great opportunity to present something really awesome, and they completely mess it up. The only “good” thing is that Detroit can finally stop crying about not being in the East.

  30. steelers88 - Feb 26, 2013 at 8:17 PM

    Ok Florida Panthers have to go. The atmosphere is terrible tonight and every night. I’m a huge Penguins fan and I don’t have any interest in this game. This game is putting me to sleep!

  31. bensawesomeness - Feb 26, 2013 at 8:31 PM

    What people don’t seem to understand is that the whole point of these conferences is to cut down on travel for the 4 or so teams that really should be in the east, but there are 15 other teams closer to the Atlantic to screw them over.

    Columbus, Detroit are in the Eastern time zone. Yet they’re constantly flying out to the West Coast 3-4 times a year.

    It’s all about eliminating travel times from coast to coast, and maybe a little bit of helping smaller market teams get more publicity and opportunity to get better. 4 Teams from the pacific coast keeps the California/Phoenix teams and markets attached to their teams with a high likleyhood of playoffs every year
    Atlantic Division helps Columbus not have to travel, gets them money with bigger markets.

    Only teams that really have room to complain are Nashville and maybe St. Loius, because of location and travel too, Chicago because they’re losing the matchup against Detroit, and the Florida squads because Florida is freaking far from pretty much any other team

    • bensawesomeness - Feb 26, 2013 at 8:32 PM

      Still not sure how i feel about the playoff formats, i’ll honestly let 2-3 seasons play out and then decide.

      Those of you who watch Baseball – everyone thought the 1 game play-in was stupid until it was awesome this year.

      ( i really don’t like baseball, i just have nothing to do over summer )

    • nhlol12345 - Feb 26, 2013 at 9:31 PM

      Bensawesomeness, everyone understands that Detroit and Columbus need to be in the east.

      I’m just curious if you truly understand these playoff scenarios. Do you realize that Chicago could end up playing 3 traight playoff rounds against the Pacific teams?

      Not to mention, they STILL could have 2 LONG west coast trips in the regular season. Please explain how that helps travel or builds division rivalries.

      • bensawesomeness - Feb 26, 2013 at 9:45 PM

        “Everyone understands” about Detroit and Columbus is pushing it a little, there are quite a few people arguing to keep Chicago and Detroit in the West, but not the point

        No, actually, Chicago would play the first 2 rounds, hypothetically, in their division, then against the other “West” champion, then the Eastern champ.

        How do you suppose that the teams in the current Central Conference got the rivalries they currently have? They played each other a ton. …And Weber bashed Zetterberg’s head into the boards, but that’s beside the point as well.

        How is two ‘long’ west coast trips any different than they have now? they’d actually play less on the west coast- they’d play everyone at their barn once, and around half of them they’d play twice. that’s less than they’re playing now.

    • nhlol12345 - Feb 26, 2013 at 10:45 PM

      Here is how it could play out…

      Scenario:

      Midwest:
      1. St Louis 110 points
      2. Minnesota 108 points
      3. Nashville 105 points

      Pacific:
      1. Los Angeles 109 points
      2. San Jose 105 points
      3. Anaheim 101 points

      Wild cards:
      Vancouver 100 points
      Chicago 99 points.

      Chicago has to go to LA in the first round, while Vancouver goes to St Louis.
      Now, assume Chicago and Vancouver win round 1.
      Chicago faces winner of San Jose and Anaheim.
      Vancouver faces winner of Minnesota vs Nashville.
      So Chicago is fighting to win the Pacific playoffs, while Vancouver is fighting to win the Midwest playoffs.
      Then the have to face each other if they win.

      So Chicago has to play 3 rounds of west coast games, while the two eastern conferences get to take a bus to their “road” games.

      And the whole point of realignment was to reduce travel and build division rivalries…currently the Hawks play their division 6 times. under this new scenario, they would only play their division rivals 5 or 4 times. And they could STILL have to head to the west coast twice, which is not an improvement.

      • bensawesomeness - Feb 27, 2013 at 1:46 AM

        Yes, in that very, very specific set of circumstances, the Hawks would have to travel out to the coast 3 times.
        To that, i’d say, if you’re in the wild card, and actually the 4th or 5th best in your division, then you’ve made it into the playoffs, but in doing so you’ve earned being screwed over like that.
        Win your division and you won’t have to do that. That’s kind of the point

        You can’t tell me you’re sick of seeing the Blue Jackets, Nashville, and St. Louis play the Hawks 6 times a year. 4-5 times is enough for healthy rivalries and to let the fan bases feel like they’re not seeing the same team every night.

        The hawks would have t make it out to the west coast twice per year, yes. But now the east has to travel out there to every single barn. Levels the playing field a bit.

        This levels the playing field in the playoffs and regular season, giving each team a relatively similar amount of travel, much better than what we have now. And it has the likes of Crosby and Ovi go to lesser markets every year. Can’t tell me Phoenix doesn’t need all the help it can get

      • nhlol12345 - Feb 27, 2013 at 5:51 PM

        bensawesomeness…I find it hard to believe that you think that Detroit and Chicago now have a level playing field when it comes to travel.

      • nhlol12345 - Feb 27, 2013 at 5:52 PM

        And yes, I would prefer to play the division rivals more. Thats what makes divisional playoffs so awesome.

  32. mnwildfan15 - Feb 26, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    Easy fix Nashville goes east jets take Wild spot in nw wild to central problem solved.

  33. buffalomafia - Feb 26, 2013 at 8:54 PM

    I agree with stiller43 except buffalo & philly need to be in same division?

  34. scamp516dp - Feb 26, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    Chicago and Detroit
    Chicago and Minnesota
    Keep them together with Saint Louis
    That is regional Midwest action….

  35. greatminnesotasportsmind - Feb 26, 2013 at 9:56 PM

    I suppose I can get behind this playoff system. This is what last year’s standings and first round playoff matchups look like, assuming I even understand what the NHL is trying to do…

    Eastern Conference

    Atlantic Division
    NY Rangers 109
    Pittsburgh 108
    Philadelphia 103
    ——————————-
    *New Jersey 102
    *Washington (42w) 92
    Carolina 82
    NY Islanders 79
    Columbus 65

    Atlanta Division has Rangers and Penguins battling each other until the final day of the season trying to get home ice advantage through out the playoffs. Philadelphia and New Jersey also battle it out until the final day of the regular season for the higher seed and playing Pittsburgh or playing Boston. Both wild cards come out of this division. Washington gets the last seed over Ottawa because of the first tie breaker being record (42 wins to 41)

    Central Division
    Boston (49w) 102
    Detroit (48w) 102
    Florida 94
    ————————————-
    Ottawa (41w) 92
    Buffalo 89
    Tampa Bay 84
    Toronto 80
    Montreal 78

    Boston and Detroit play until the final day of the regular season for the division title. Boston wins on tie breaker (49 wins to 48). Florida (f you to everyone who thinks they always have no chance) wins the final guaranteed playoff spot by 2 points. Ottawa misses the playoffs because of the tie breaker.

    Eastern Playoffs would be:

    NY Rangers vs Washington
    Rangers/Washington winner vs Pittsburgh/Philadelphia winner
    Pittsburgh vs Philadelphia
    Winners above/under meet in East Finals
    Boston vs New Jersey
    Boston/New Jersey winner vs Detroit/Florida winner
    Detroit vs Florida

    Western Conference

    Mid-West Division
    St. Louis 109
    Nashville 104
    Chicago 101
    ——————————
    Dallas 89
    Colorado 88
    Winnipeg 84
    Minnesota 81

    The division is wrapped up before the regular season ends. Only division that ends before the season is finished. However Dallas and Colorado continues to play for the wild card spot until the season ends. No wild card winners here, And, as Minnesota sports tradtions continue, the Wild are a last place team.

    Pacific Division
    Vancouver 111
    Phoenix 97
    San Jose 96
    ———————————
    *Los Angeles 95
    *Calgary 90
    Anaheim 80
    Edmonton 74

    Phoenix, San Jose, and Los Angeles all play until the final day of the season for home ice in the first round playing each other, and who gets the Wild Card. Calgary has to play until season’s end for the final wild card berth.

    The playoffs would look like this:

    Vancouver vs Calgary
    Vancouver/Calgary winner vs Phoenix/San Jose winner
    Phoenix vs San Jose
    Winners above and under meet for West Finals
    St. Louis vs Los Angeles
    St. Louis/Los Angeles winner vs Nashville/Chicago winner
    Nashville vs Chicago

    • hockeydon10 - Feb 27, 2013 at 10:19 AM

      Great analysis. I’m not sure what everyone is complaining about here. I can see this working out better for quite a few teams while developing even more intense rivalries. Imagine something like Nashville / Chicago playing each other twice in the final 10 games of the regular season, then suddenly having to play each other up to seven more times in the first round. There will be blood!

      • nhlol12345 - Feb 27, 2013 at 5:36 PM

        hockeydon10, just imagine this….Nashville and Chicago play each other twice in the final 10 games of the regular season, and both teams make the playoffs, then Nashville has to go play LA for the forst round, and San Jose for the second.

        I hate this new wild card system.

        They should just play within the divison for the first 2 rounds.

  36. kingsforever - Feb 27, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    Teams still aren’t even, so the players still won’t like it. Wild cards don’t fix anything

  37. hockeydon10 - Feb 27, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    I went and made a quick google map laying out the proposed alignment. It’s easy to see how they’re trying to accommodate the traditional Atlantic rivalries while still grouping teams via time zone.

    The two Florida teams either end up outliers, or you end up bumping one of the Atlantic teams away from their rivalries. Columbus is easy enough to bump out of Atl for TB, but then who do you bump out for the Panthers, Pittsburgh? Rangers?

    While it’s not great justification, I can see the idea that doing it this way will attract the snow birds to attend games in TB and Miami.

    https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=200576910286370619860.0004d6b5fdd6ebb4c17c6&msa=0&ll=40.245992,-86.748047&spn=46.817487,90.527344

  38. nhlol12345 - Feb 27, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    I find it hard to believe that nobody cares that a Midwest team could essentialy play all 3 rounds against the pacific division.

    Am I the only one that sees that?

    Pacific fans, arent you at all concerend that you could end up in the Midwest playoff division for 3 rounds?

    Or better yet…..isnt anyone concerned that the reward for best conference record is to go play a team from another division in the first round?

    The realignment is fine. The wild card is awful.

  39. rangersfan94 - Feb 27, 2013 at 7:35 PM

    I’m fine with the idea of realignment, but I was against putting Florida and Tampa Bay with five Northeast Division teams under last season’s four-conference realignment, and I am against it with this new realignment. Florida and Tampa Bay are a lot more Atlantic than Columbus and Pittsburgh, and Columbus and Pittsburgh are a lot more Central than Florida and Tampa Bay. Just swap these four teams, and it will all be good. Besides, Pittsburgh was in the Northeast Division with Boston, Buffalo, Montreal, and Ottawa from 1993-94 to 1997-98. Also, Buffalo and Columbus are closer to Pittsburgh than Philadelphia is. And you could still keep Columbus and Detroit in the same division.

  40. ussportsfanuk - Mar 5, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    I’ve attempted a new realignment plan on my blog that has four conferences with every one made up of teams across two time zones to even out travel. It basically leaves all teams in each time zone with similar schedules to every other team in their time zone. It also retains all the main and historical rivalries and has 3 Original Six teams in 2 of the Conferences so one of them is left on their own. The actual alignment of the conferences and the make up of the schedule for regular season and playoffs are also in detail on my post.

    • ussportsfanuk - Mar 5, 2013 at 12:39 PM

      That should say that none of the Original Six teams are left on their own, as the Blackhawks and Rangers in the new plan proposed by the NHL.

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