Like it or not, the NHL is going to have a drastically different look next season as the league's Board of Governors has approved the proposed realignment plan.
Here's how the playoffs will work...
"The Stanley Cup Playoffs will still consist of 16 teams, eight in each conference, but it will be division-based and a wild-card system has been added as a new wrinkle.
The top three teams in each division will make-up the first 12 teams in the playoffs. The remaining four spots will be filled by the next two highest-placed finishers in each conference, based on regular-season points and regardless of division. It will be possible, then, for one division to send five teams to the postseason while the other sends three.
The seeding of the wild-card teams within each divisional playoff will be determined on the basis of regular-season points. The division winner with the most points in the conference will be matched against the wild-card team with the lowest number of points; the division winner with the second-most points in the conference will play the wild-card team with the second fewest points.
The teams finishing second and third in each division will play in the first round of the playoffs. The winners of each series will play for berths in the Conference Championship series.
The two divisional champions in each conference will then play in the conference finals to advance to the Stanley Cup Final."
...is it perfect? Not even close. Especially when one conference has two more teams, but I don't anticipate that to last very long as most experts expect the league to expand again to fill those two spots in the Western Conference. I find it strange that in a couple of years I'm going to hate the Columbus Blue Jackets. Weird.
...travel-wise this is a home run for teams such Detroit, Columbus and Dallas and getting another Original Six team in the Eastern Conference can only be good for national ratings. I also believe that lumping Florida and Tampa in with Northeast teams such as Boston and Montreal will only help with attendance and local TV ratings as there are plenty of hockey fans from those traditional markets who have relocated to the Sunshine state.
Atrocious. This whole thing is a clusterfuck. 5% harder to make the playoffs for teams in the east and with the playoff structure, you could have the 2nd best record in the conference and play the team with the 3 most points in the conference in the first round. How is this the best that a professional league can come up with?
Why hatred? Hatred is when you remember Dave Schultz pounding on Dale Rolfe a million years ago and have never forgotten. Sorry, the Jackets will never come close to that.
Regarding the two Florida teams being in the Norhteast, its a good point by Kevin below that a lot of New Englanders transplant to Florida. I'm also thinking they analyzed everyone else's travel first, and then basically determined that the difference between flying to NYC and flying to Montreal is relatively minimal. You figure if you moved the Rangers and Islanders into the Northeast you'd create a substantial increase in travel for those teams, then the Florida teams would only get a short flight to Carolina and would still have to fly to WSH, PHI, PIT, and NJD, and you'd kill a lot more rivalries.
if i understand this correctly...When playoffs start, teams in each division play between them selves? Does that mean that for example: Let's say that Division D teams that make the playoffs are : NYR, PIT, CAR,NJD. NYR have to eliminate 2 of those teams and then they play against Division C winner?
@Medvjed004 Not exactly, because there are wild cards. If they finish 1st in the division they can possibly face the 4th or 5th team from the other division in the first round, then a team from their own division in the 2nd round, then the winner of the other division in the conference finals. Or if they finish 4th or 5th they could possibly face the top team from the other division, or miss the playoffs altogether, depending how the wild cards shake out. Then they'd play through that division's playoffs, and if they win it they'd face the winner of their own division in the conference finals.
Not to make it more confusing, but technically, the winner of each division's playoff could be the 4th place team from the other division, who would then play each other in the conference finals. They really should have kept the system the same, division winners plus the next 6 best, or done straight up divisional playoffs like there used to be.
Columbus is going to be good, 3 first rounders in this years draft which is considered to be the deepest draft since 2003... If they pan out, we don't have one bad team in our division anymore. Every team can compete, as the islanders have shown this year. Going to be very hard to get to the playoffs with only 3 teams coming out of our new division
@TheNYRBlog works for CBJ fans. had on my NYR jersey at a preseason game during Columbus debut yr, was hassled as I walked down the street
@TheNYRBlog that chart is missing teams
Im not sure why they couldnt just move the jets over to the west and bring the wings or the jackets over . Literally requires little change.
I love the fact, assuming I am understanding this correctly which I may not be, a team in 5th place could remain in their division for the first two rounds of the playoffs but a team in fourth could end up moving to another division. Or for having best record in conference you could be forced to play a team in another division. Let's penalize the teams that do better! I thought the point of this stupid playoff setup was to avoid that...
@Melissa (blknblueshirts) Yes, that's correct. With the wild card, the #1 team in the conference plays the 2nd wild card, which could be a better team than the 4th place team in the conference winner's division, who they'd play under regular divisional playoff rules. The advantage comes when the two 4th place teams are the wild cards and the #1 seed plays the 4th place team with fewer points. The disadvantage outweighs the advantage, however, and that just shouldn't be the case.
@TheNYRBlog i like em. good to see duby and artem too.
@TheNYRBlog They can't hate them. They practically created them. \/columbusbluerangers
At least it makes sense, especially given further expansion. Even if you don't like it, you can basically follow their thinking. Rangers are in the smallest division geographically.
@AG_Blue I also read somewhere that 15 teams and two divisions would make for unequal scheduling in each conference. Granted, the NHL could have just swapped Detroit and Winnipeg then move Winnipeg to Northwest, Colorado to Pacific and Dallas to Central. Would have been a lot easier and more fair for Eastern teams.
You know, i heard someone say on the radio when they talked about the divions "...and you have to figure that the 7 team divisions will allow for further expansion..." and I almost drove off a bridge!! Further expansion??? A) Why? Pretty sure this leagues biggest problem is still the last expansion and B) Where? You left two holes in the western conferences. Unless they expect Kansas City and Portland Oregon to suddenly become hot beds of hockey, how will this work?
Bettman and his team of idiots at it again. And the PA is just going along with it because more teams means more roster spots and more contracts.
@TheNYRBlog Chances we get named divisions rather then generic east\/west blahh blahh ?
Still not a huge fan. I like the playoff set up that allows for the 7 and 8 spots to come from either division, but if they wanted balance they should have left Chicago or Columbus in the West, so there would be 15 teams in each conference.
@TheNYRBlog really can't wrap my head around the Panthers and Lightning being in a division with the northeastern-most teams...
@TheNYRBlog No hatred here, just cant wait to beat up on the bluejunks