SUN Hockey Pool

NHL maps out major changes

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is considering a major realignment for the 2012-13 season. (QMI...

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is considering a major realignment for the 2012-13 season. (QMI Agency file photo)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:17 PM ET

OTTAWA - The NHL could be ready to make drastic changes with a major realignment for the 2012-13 season.

Two league executives told QMI Agency Wednesday that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman presented a proposal during Tuesday’s board of governors meetings in New York to scrap the current format used by the league.

Sources say under Bettman’s proposal, the league will have four divisions: Pacific, Midwest, East and South. It’s believed the Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets would both get their wish to move to the East conference.

Changes need to be made with the Atlanta Thrashers’ move to Winnipeg now official. The two conferences and six divisions will be kept this year, but Bettman is pushing for a major change.

The realignment is by no means final. It’s still in the discussion stages.

Teams would play a balanced 82-game schedule with home-and-home against teams outside their division.

The top four teams in each division would make the playoffs. The first round would be divisonal play, the teams would then re-seed for conference play. Bettman’s idea would not affect a East-West Stanley Cup final matchup.

With 30 teams, one division in each conference will have eight squads while the other will have seven. Under the current format — two conferences and six divisions — division winners and the top five teams make the playoffs.

“Nobody is happy with the current format so I would expect something like this is going to be adopted,” said a league executive, speaking on the condition of anonymity.


Videos

Photos