The NHL has officially announced that the league will no longer be between the Eastern and Western Conferences. Instead, there are now four individual conferences, which was decided upon today by the Board of Governors. However, this may have been officially announced by the NHL, but it still isn’t official, so to say. Huh? It still has to pass with the NHLPA, but it’s pretty certain it will (we just can’t proclaim it set in stone until they agree).
What does this mean?
- Well, instead of just sticking to mainly playing rivals in the same conference, it is now setup to where every team will face each other at least twice a year. This means the Predators will face opponents such as Boston and Toronto on a regular basis.
- There will still be sixteen teams in the playoffs, but the first two rounds will be against conference members. Example, if the Predators make it to the playoffs, they will face anyone else in Conference: B who made it into the playoffs also for two rounds. Yes, that means no more playing the Ducks or Canucks until after the second round in the playoffs.
- Within the eight team conferences (Conference A and Conference B), teams will play five to six times on a rotating basis.
- Within the seven team conferences (Conference C and Conference D), teams will play six times, splitting home and away down the middle by three (three away games, three home games).
This all stemmed due to the Atlanta Thrashers moving to Winnipeg to become the Jets, thus throwing off the alignment of the league. Instead of decided who should move to the Eastern Conference (The Jets would have clearly been the Western choice), the Board of Governors simply assigned four new conferences. Here are the new conferences:
Conference A consists of: Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks, Phoenix Coyotes, L.A. Kings, and the Colorado Avalanche.
Conference B consists of: Columbus Blue Jackets, St. Louis Blues, Detroit Red Wings, Nashville Predators, Dallas Stars, Winnipeg Jets, Chicago Blackhawks, and the Minnesota Wild.
Conference C consists of: Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Buffalo Sabres, and the Boston Bruins.
Conference D consists of: Philadelphia Flyers, New York Rangers, Washington Capitals, New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, Carolina Hurricane, and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Was it necessary for us to break it down like that with the pictures? Absolutely, because it never hurts to be clear as a bell when it comes to this kind of nonsense!
So there you go: the brand new, spanking NHL conferences. Will this change help the Predators or hurt them in the long run? Welp, we shall find out soon enough!