PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) - NHL officials have approved a radical realignment plan that will give the league four conferences instead of six divisions and guarantee home-and-home series among all teams.
The new plan is designed to create more equitable travel, preserve rivalries and promote the game by having the biggest stars play in every city every season. The proposal is pending approval of the NHL Players' Association and could be implemented as early as next year.
One conference would have New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, the New York Rangers, the New York Islanders, Washington and Carolina. Another all-Eastern time zone conference would consist of Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Buffalo, Florida and Tampa Bay.
Detroit, Columbus, Nashville, St. Louis, Chicago, Minnesota, Dallas and Winnipeg would do battle in a third conference. The fourth has Los Angeles, Anaheim, Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Colorado.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)