Thursday, January 26, 2006



I've been hurting my head for the past half-hour or so, spurred on by this TB post, trying to figure out how to satisfy everyone's complaints about the NHL schedule. Most people have one of these two complaints (and occasionally, both):
I've tried every permutation I can think of to come up with something elegant, and it's not happening, including switching to 4 divisions. In the end, I think the best solution (pending any expansion or contraction of the league) is a relatively minor tweak. It's also guaranteed to thrill precisely no one.

The NHL should increase the number of interconference games by 6, and decrease the number of intradivisional games by 6. This sounds a little convoluted, but it's really not that bad:
The change to the interconference schedule should (mostly) satisfy both fans and, ahem, "cost-conscious" owners. Each team would play 8 road games against the other conference instead of 5; in other words, one 3-game roadtrip would be across the country instead of in adjacent states/provinces. The transportation would be more expensive, but the hotels would be about a wash; every club should be able to handle the costs.

Also, (1) your team would play every other team every year, and (2) every team would come to your home arena at least every other year, instead of every third year. I think this would make most fans happy.

The change to the intradivisional schedule should (mostly) mollify those of us concerned about the unbalanced conference schedule. Calgary & Edmonton would continue to play the Hawks/Blues/Jackets 12 times a year, but Nashville and Detroit, instead of facing those 3 teams 24 times, would face them 19 or 20 times. Also, playing division rivals 6 or 7 times instead of 8 is a decent balance, as I see it: that's still plenty of games in which to develop & maintain the rivalries that most of us enjoy, but not as many as now, where literally, in your next 10 games, you can expect to play every team in your division. Again.

Translation: whatever ill or unfair effect you think the unbalanced conference sked has on the playoff race, my proposed changes would reduce it by about a third.

And don't forget, the unfairness issue would further be reduced by playing all the teams in the other conference (e.g this season, Toronto had to play the whole NW Division on the road, while Atlanta didn't have to play the NW at all).

As always, I'd be interested in hearing feedback on this.


It's logical and it makes sense. Which means the NHL will turn their noses up at it :P

Matt, your proposal is so self-evidently right that it will never happen.

keep on dreaming big guy and go Flames.

Make it three votes in favour. As a Flames fan who used to live in Ottawa, I can understand the frustration people are feeling with this new schedule.

I'm all for the divisional rivalries, nothing beats the BoA, but more balance is a good thing.

Of course it goes without saying that given the unbalanced nature of the divisional games, the Flames and Oilers will always play against each other the maximum number of times, right...

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