NHL.com: Reported NHL Board of Governors (owners) approved changes that dramatically alter the conferences and playoff format beginning next season.
NHL.com: Has Commissioner, Gary Bettman's, video press conference.
The new alignment enables the NHL to create a balanced schedule in which all teams will play each other at least twice every season, once at home and once on the road.
The top four teams in each Conference qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The first-place team would play the fourth-place team; the second-place team would play the third-place team. The four respective Conference champions would meet in the third round of the Playoffs, with the remaining two clubs playing for the Stanley Cup.
Bottom line, instead of competing with fourteen teams for eight playoff spots, the New York Islanders will compete with six teams over four playoff spots.
The NHL has been reduced to four divisions or expanded to four conferences, depending on your viewpoint.
The top four clubs in each conference qualify for the playoffs, that means the New York Islanders could have the second best record in the other Eastern Conference, but if it's not top four in their own conference, no playoffs.
It also means for the entire six month regular season, there is no reason to be concerned with games in terms of playoffs unless it's one of the other six teams in their own conference which is a huge downside.
Carolina and Washington are joining (or rejoining) the New York Islanders conference or division for the 2012-13 season.
It seems like the current Western Conference clubs got robbed blind, sure they will see every team, but a few teams that wanted to be in the East will not be changing primary rivals or conferences, plus for now they have to beat out an additional team in their conference.
Unless Tampa and Florida are playing one another, the closest conference road game is in Buffalo.
The two Western centric conferences have sixteen teams (eight per conference) competing for what will be four playoff spots, while with the Eastern centric clubs, have seven clubs competing over four playoff spots.
Eight teams/four spots x2 conferences vs seven teams/four spots x2 conferences.
Of course, if Phoenix does move East one conference could go from seven to eight.
The idea of a divisional or now smaller conference playoff has never been personally appealing, now these new conference playoffs mean you have to emerge from your conference playoffs (two rounds) before advancing.
My guess is a lot of owners are unhappy with this format, but all will get Crosby and Ovechkin in their building once a year in a revenue driven business.
Remember not long ago the spin was it was more important for natural rivalries and eight divisional games were more important than meaningless games with the West?
Now it seems unless it involves your own seven team division, for the entire regular season until the semi-finals, it means absolutely nothing.
The NHL seemed awful popular with New York vs Los Angeles, Boston, Buffalo and Philadelphia in 1980 come playoff time.
Comments on Moulson/injuries and recent wins/callups are on twitter, the player who concussed Niederreiter can only get same five games Tomas Pock received for his head shot, who will meet with NHL Tuesday. His own coach said he left his feet to hit Niederreiter's head.
Why is Andrew MacDonald skating and traveling with the team if out 2-4 weeks? No timetable (media could not even get that right claiming out indefinitely) does not sound good for Rick DiPietro, however once the club disclosed a specific injury (groin strain), it has to be accurate per league rules.
In short, it's not a knee injury.
Nice to see management promoting players who are statistically meriting callups, however they need Calvin deHaan (or another defender) for Mike Mottau as soon as Tuesday unless this defense can block 28 shots/allow 30+ and score five/four goals per game.
Sure, Eric Nystrom beat callup Dylan Reese clean for his goal, Reese for his part has one of what is now two even strength (5/5) goals scored by this defense all season.
The teams speed/transition has improved from defense to offense, but they are giving up chances in exchange.
Three games under five hundred means this club must play fifteen games over starting Tuesday to have a realistic chance at the 8th seed. Three wins/four games changed nothing with the current 8th seed/eight points ahead of the Islanders.