All NHL Teams to Play Each Other at Least Once Beginning in 08-09

Kevin van Steendelaar@@LeTirEtLeButAnalyst INovember 30, 2007

At long last, fans in every NHL city will get to see their teams play against the entire league beginning next season.

The league release: 

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – The National Hockey League’s Board of
Governors today approved a scheduling matrix which ensures that each club will play every other Club a minimum of once per season. The
format will go into effect for the 2008-2009 season.

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.


Now keep in mind folks: this means teams will play each other at least once. So although Western Conference fans will see their teams play all the Eastern Teams, they may likely see those teams in their home arenas only once every two years. At least it's better than every five years or so. Many have criticized the current schedule as a major weakness in the league's ability to market the game, especially in several US markets.


This could also be a step toward improving scoring, as good offensive teams hampered in a tough defensive division can feast on weaker teams in the other conference as well. That was something Gretzky and Lemieux enjoyed three times a season back in the day.


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