League wants realignment decision by December
The first formal discussions regarding realignment for the 2012-13 season were held Tuesday at the NHL Board of Governors meeting. However, the only consensus reached by the time the meeting broke in the early afetrnoon was that a decision on how the League will be realigned for next season needs to be reached by December in order for the scheduling process to begin on time.
The League must adopt some form of realignment because Winnipeg, which will play the upcoming season in the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference, has been assured of a spot in the Western Conference for the 2012-13 season. Therefore, it’s possible that the Jets’ move could create a ripple effect by forcing more teams to move or the League to blow up the current system and re-draw it for 2012-13.“Obviously we have to make arrangements to move Winnipeg west, and we had an opportunity to explore the issues,” Commissioner Gary Bettman told NHL.com. “No conclusions were reached, but it’s something I’m hopeful we can resolve at the December meeting.”
Bettman described the tone of the discussions as “very constructive and very positive.” A number of realignment scenarios were laid out in front of the governors, including ideas to keep the current six-division format or move into a four-conference format, featuring two conferences of eight teams and two conferences of seven teams.
Completely overhauling the current system into a four-conference system would obviously require the League to change the playoff format as well.