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02-25-2013, 07:50 AM
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You guys know FAR more about this stuff than I do. But here's something I would consider:

I would almost change things up even more.

Here's what I would do:

Northeast: Boston, Buffalo, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Islanders, Rangers, New Jersey
Atlantic: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington, Carolina, Tampa, Florida, Nashville
Central: Winnipeg, Chicago, Minnesota, Dallas, St. Louis, Colorado, Detroit, Columbus
Pacific: Anaheim, San Jose, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver

Northeast has far less travel, but they need to crossover into Canada. Atlantic has a bit more travel, but its entirely US based within the same time zone except for Nashville, which is -1 hour. Central/Pacific would have rougher travel, going north to south and across the border, but the teams are pretty close in time zones. You lose a few rivalries, but you preserve a few as well, and do to the geographical set up, you create natural rivalries.

From there, I'd do the playoff format as follows:

Round 1: Conference Qualifier(1v4, 2v3 within YOUR regular season grouping)
Round 2: Conference Championship (It's NO longer decided in the regular season, you win a conference title in the playoffs)

That brings you to the "final four". From that point, reseed based on regular season record.

Round 3: Conference Champions: Semi Finals: 1v4, 2v3 of the teams remaining.
Round 4: Stanley Cup

One of the complaints that I've seen is that the teams in seven team divisions have an easier chance to make the playoffs and in turn win the Cup. So if that's an issue you do this:

-Conference Champions decided in regular season
-Top three in each conference make the playoffs (seedings to be determined)
-Four wild card teams can make the playoffs. It's the best four point totals in the league who didn't finish in the top three in their conference.
-Of the wild card teams, you insert one into each of the conferences brackets. Whichever conference with the highest point total with the three teams that made the playoffs gets the last wild card team. The team with the lowest point total gets the top wild card team.
-Follow through with the same format as above, except renaming the rounds.

RattleYourSabre is offline