Sports Outside the Beltway

NHL: No changes to schedule, playoffs

From AP-

PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — NHL officials decided Tuesday that there will be no immediate changes in regular-season scheduling or in the way playoffs matches are determined.

League and team officials met for two days, discussing having teams play fewer in-conference games in order to face more opponents from other conferences.

The playoff talks focused on going to a bracket format instead of the current method in which teams are re-seeded after the opening round based on regular-season performance.

“The view was that the competitive issue by reseeding predominates over everything else,” Bettman said, adding that the current system will remain.

He also said the regular-season scheduling part of the discussions is not a dead issue.

“I think there was sentiment in the room that change should be and could be considered, but I think on balance, people believe that what we have now is better than any of the alternatives,” Bettman said. “I’ll probably appoint a committee and we’ll take a look at it on an ongoing basis.”

The potential schedule change arose for two reasons: fans wanting to see star players from other conferences in their arena more often and because western teams travel more than teams from the east.

I think the NHL schedule should be changed. How excited can any NHL fan be to see the Atlanta Thrashers and Florida Panthers play their 7th or 8th matchup of the year? All teams in the league should play one another during the year. At present, teams only play 10 games outside of their conference in a year. Stars like Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin or Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby and others should be given a chance to be viewed by all fans.

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