The NHL is about to get a major facelift.
The leagues Board of Governors, meeting Monday night in Pebble Beach, Calif., approved a major realignment of its 30 teams effective next season. TSN reported that 26 clubs voted in favor of the plan; four were opposed.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman must now meet with the NHLPA to discuss implementation.
From the Flyers' perspective, their longtime divisional rivalries with key clubs such as the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers will continue in a new-four conference setup that replaces the present two-conference matrix.
Here's what's going to happen for me, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said earlier on Monday.
Somebody is eventually going to come down and put a piece of paper on my desk and say this is your division, and I'm going to say, 'OK, that's great.' That's how it's going to work. Something is going to come down and it'll get sorted out and we'll figure it out.
Heres how it has been figured out:
Conference A: Anaheim, Calgary, Colorado, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose and Vancouver
Conference B: Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Minnesota, Nashville and St. Louis
Conference C: Boston, Buffalo, Florida, Montreal, Ottawa, Tampa Bay and Toronto
Conference D: Carolina, New Jersey, N.Y. Islanders, N.Y. Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington
Two of the conferences from the west will have eight teams and two from the east will have seven teams. The top four seeds make the playoffs.
In the seven-team conferences, division rivals play six times a season. In eight, they play five or six, rotating by year.
Of course, you could argue this is better than a few years ago when divisional rivals met eight times.
Eight gets to be a little bit much, I think, Laviolette said. That's a lot of games, the same teams, it's nice to play the Bruins or if you go out west, it's nice to play Detroit.
I think when you put eight games in your division, that's when you maybe see Detroit once a year. The traffic's tough, but it's also nice to get a mix in there.
The playoffs go like this: The first-place team would play the fourth-place team, while the second-place team would play the third-place team.
The four respective conference champions would meet in the third round of the playoffs, with the survivors playing for the Stanley Cup.
Its possible that two teams from the East or two from the West could meet for the Cup, as it was decades ago.
The domino effect of a major realignment was caused by the Atlanta Thrashers moving to Winnipeg this season, while remaining part of the Southeast Division.
Under the new setup, each club will play a home-and-home series with every team in the league that is not in their own conference.
For instance, the Los Angeles Kings came to visit the Flyers in October, but when the Flyers went to the West Coast last week, they played Anaheim, but not Los Angeles. Now they will play each other home-and-home.
Teams in the West figure to travel less and teams in the East now will travel more and their costs will rise.
Flyers chairman Ed Snider and team president Peter Luukko were unavailable for comment.
E-mail Tim Panaccio at email@example.com.