Finally I can enjoy watching the Leafs not play so many games in the toughest division in the NHL in the past decade.
Released by the NHL was this statement:
"Each Club will play the teams in its division three times at home and three times on the road, for a total of 24 games. Each Club will continue to play 40 games inside its conference but outside its division (10 opponents) twice at home and twice on the road. That brings the in-conference total to 64 games and maintains the integrity of a Conference-based playoff system.
The remaining 18 games in the 82-game schedule will involve each Club playing each Club in the other conference at least once, home or away, with the three remaining games being devoted to interconference “at-large” scheduling.
The format represents a change from the matrix approved by the Board for the 2005-06 campaign. That format called for four games (40 total) against each non-division conference opponent, eight games (32 total) against each in-division opponent and 10 inter-conference games – one game at home against each of the five clubs from a designated division and one game on the road against all five clubs from a different division."
This is true, now with this being the new format. These past few seasons, with myself being a true blue and white leafs fan that I would get upset to see us play the tough teams of our division 8 times each year. Ottawa being one of the best teams during the season each year. Then on and off were the Sabres and Canadiens having great seasons the past few years. While watching the likes of the Carolina Hurricanes and the Tampa Bay Lightning getting an easy chance to get a good playoff spot, and having many easy nights during a tough long season. This is a big relief, to many fans of Leaf nation and many other teams in the NHL.
A bigger reason now is that teams, cities and all fans alike will get a chance to see the likes of Alexander Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Pavel Datsyuk. I felt bad thinking that many good hockey fans, especially on the west coast, that they would rarely get the chance to see the Crosby/Ovechkin's of the NHL. The newest addition is Stamkos again in the east to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
I remember the day, when I was working at Rogers Sportsnet (the TV studio), we went wild during our live broadcast when we found out the Pens got the 1st round pick of the 2005 NHL entry draft. Cause we knew that they would select Crosby, and mostly that we didn't have to work late many nights (cause of the west coast games) to have good coverage on the new NHL poster boy.
I'm happy that the NHL is slowly but surely making some solid decisions, this is a good set in the right direction.