The National Hockey League's future is going to feature some radical change, as Monday night the league's Board of Governors voted in a four-conference system that doesn't include divisions and changes the current playoff system. The radical realignment, which is suppose to feature a more balanced schedule and focus on regional rivalries, will take affect starting the 2013-14 season.
Here's a look at what the league will look like two years from now:
According to SB Nation's NHL Editor Travis Hughes, the playoff system could run like this:
PLAYOFFS: The big question is how the playoffs will work. According to Bettman, here's how things will go:
- As we mentioned, the top four teams in each conference will advance to the postseason.
- From that point, the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs will be intra-conference.
- There will be four conference champions, each of whom will advance to a final four.
- The four teams will likely be reseeded based on regular season results, with No. 1 playing No. 4 and No. 2 playing No. 3. The winners will meet in the Stanley Cup Final. It's also possible that the two eight-team conferences (or, the East) will meet and that the two seven-team conferences (the West) will meet, with the winner playing in the Final. Bettman said the general managers will decide this.
Hughes also stated Tuesday morning that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman presented two plans to the Board Of Governors -- one radical, one not -- and the committee decided to go the radical route. Bettman and the governors also did away with the "Western" and "Eastern" conferences and that during the regular season each franchise will play a home-and-home with every NHL team.
-- For more information on the NHL realignment, check out this special StoryStream at SB Nation.