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02-27-2013, 12:16 AM
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Conferences are arraigned by time zone, without regard to equal number of teams, or chances of any given team of making the playoffs. This alignment is strictly about time zones, nothing more, other considerations had to be thrown out the window. As for scheduling regular season play, it will be flexible, as the three western-most conferences are generally treated as one conference for scheduling proposes, with certain adjustments being made to maintain a fair number of EST-CST match-ups. (This, admittedly, also contradicts my previous argument of needing a wide variety of playoff match-ups, at least as far as three of the conferences go, but oh well. This alignment also goes completely out the window - likely to be thrown out - if Phoenix is moved anywhere out of the Mountain time zone, but I'm counting on that not happening. It is ready-made to accommodate expansion markets in any the three western-most zones - preferably both in the CST if odds of making the playoffs are an absolute consideration - though this might result in one or two conferences having an odd number of teams, and makes no consideration for the possibilities of Quebec or a second Toronto team.)

EST (16 teams, no divisions - Top eight make the playoffs, & play in their own bracket)

CST (6 teams - Top four make the playoffs, & play in their own bracket in the first two rounds)

MST (4 teams - Top two make the playoffs, & play in the first round, meets PST winner in second round *see note above about

PST (4 teams, same deal as MST)

The first-round of the playoffs in 2012, assuming all else was equal, would have looked like this:

01 NY Rangers vs. 08 Washington
04 Boston vs. 05 Detroit
02 Pittsburgh vs. 07 Florida
03 Philadelphia vs. 06 New Jersey

01 St. Louis vs. 04 Dallas
02 Nashville vs. 03 Chicago

01 Phoenix vs. 02 Calgary

01 Vancouver vs. 02 San Jose

(You'll notice the eventual Cup winner in real-time, LA, doesn't make it in under this alignment. Well, they were the eight-seed, and there are a lot of scenarios where they wouldn't have made it in under the proposed alignments floated about. If standings were arraigned, firstly, but number of wins as it should be, LA wouldn't have made it under the current alignment. And, yes, occasionally a real dog like last year's Calgary & Dallas teams might make it in, in lieu of perhaps most deserving teams in other conferences, but that's really no different than it is now.)

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