NHL to Institute New Schedule for Next Season

Jason HackettAnalyst INovember 30, 2007

The NHL has finally decided to listen to the fans—they are changing the scheduling system for next season.

Teams will still have 24 inter-division games, but they will also play all teams from the other conference at least once.

So the new format for next season will be: 24 inter-division games, 40 inter-conference games, and 15 out of conference games.

For those of you lacking math skills, that is a total of 79 games. In addition, each team will play three extra games against random teams. Although not mentioned, I am assuming (and hoping) that the three extra games will be limited to teams from the other conference. It would be unfair to have some teams play the random games against division rivals.

In the end, 26 of the 30 GMs were in favor of the change and the NHL still has the enhanced divisional rivalries that it wants.

The current system never really made sense as all of the big draw teams would only visit the other conference cities once every three seasons—meaning that Pittsburgh only visited Vancouver once every three seasons. It was great for divisional rivalries, but its hard to put emphasis on players like Ovechkin and Crosby when they only come to town once every three years.

Now it will be once every two seasons, which is better then nothing. This will bring all of the teams into each market even if it is in town one season and on T.V. the next.