Schedule Changes for Next Year

The way the schedules are set up now, teams play their division rivals five times each per season, and usually face teams from the other conference no more than once a year. This has gotten to be a boring trend in the NHL. Look at the Leafs. Who wants to see them play the Sabres five times in one year?? Why not throw in another game versus Western teams like Detroit, Colorado, or Dallas?

There have been hints of changes in the scheduling of NHL games as early as next year, with a more generalized plan for all teams. Tell me what you think of this, cuz I think it’s a huge improvement over what goes on now.

16 Responses to Schedule Changes for Next Year

  1. WeStSiDe says:

    That wont work cuz they need to keep the playing field even, ottawa plays nashville lets say and toronto plays detroit, that wouldnt work…

  2. mikster says:

    I think the schedule has sucked, obviously Bettman’s version.

    Get rid of the back-2-back games. What the heck are they for? Extend the length of the hockey season, keep it 82 games, but extend the time. Players get tired, and coaches are pissed that they just don’t have enough practice time. It’s true. Bowman said it as well last week. Not enough practice time.

  3. Sands says:

    First of all your not going to see a lot of western aganst eastern teams because….. When a team has to go from NY to LA it is a big time change and if you think about it…. it’s a long trip for the players…. there is no point for those games more then once. I think that by haveing teams play aganst teams in their divison the more you give chance’s for teams at the end of the year to have big games at the end of the season…. to see maybe some pre-playoff games….. and battles for playoff positions…..

  4. Rushing says:

    I would would rather have each team to play the other teams of the opposite Conference at least twice. That is once at home and once on the road to make it fair. Like Dallas plays NJ only once this year and that was in NJ and Boston once in Boston. Again, at least twice and there and here.

  5. SabresFanB says:

    What are you talking about? The Sabre-Leafs games are great. Do you want to know who wants to see them play 5 times a year? All the Leaf fans who drive down from Toronto to see them play the Sabres. The only games that have sold out in Buffalo are the games that they play against Toronto.

  6. wendel_17 says:

    Here’s what I would like to see for a schedule:

    32 games vs. division teams

    32 games vs. conference teams (outside division)

    18 games vs. opposite conference teams

    Rivalry teams play each other 12 times/season – 6 home/homes

    You bring back the rivalry and pride for each team, and their fans will support them. The Green Bay Packers are a testimate to this fact.

  7. Robert says:

    than you could over do it and kill the rivalry.

  8. LEAFS4EVER says:

    For all here at HTR, this should explain what the NHL has planned for next year, this was taken from the Toronto SUn today, here is the link;, incase you just want to read it, it is below;

    Wednesday, January 22, 2003

    Rivalries a secret, for now


    The 2003-04 National Hockey League schedule will give the Maple Leafs three so-called “rivalry games.”

    But which opponents Toronto tries to put on its slate remains a secret.

    “They’re up in the air,” club president Ken Dryden said last night after a report in Edmonton suggested the Leafs will play all three against Western Canadian teams.

    The NHL is looking at a revised schedule next season designed to cash in on some long-standing hostilities. Teams will play six games against each division rival, up from five this season. They will play four games against each of the other 10 conference teams and once against each of the teams from the other conference. That’s 79 games, with three others for designated rivals.

    “That’s the matrix the teams are working with,” a league source said. “The understanding was that the Canadian teams would use those extra games against each other.”


    But the Leafs might look to include an extra game against the Detroit Red Wings or Chicago Blackhawks, after those traditional home-and-home series with the Western teams were cut back in recent years.

    “I was speaking to (NHL vice-president, scheduling) Steve Hatze Petros (yesterday), but nothing about the schedule came up,” Dryden said.

    The league faces the possibility of losing the Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators by next season, which could alter everything.

    Western Canadian clubs like the Leafs visiting but feel the Northwest Division is strong on its own and will get better with more in-house games.

    “It’s something I’ve been pushing for,” Vancouver Canucks general manager Brian Burke told The Edmonton Sun. “I think it’s great for our clubs out here because our division has become the best in the league.

    “I’d vote for four home and four away (in the Northwest),” Calgary Flames GM Craig Button said.”

    But Kevin Lowe of the Edmonton Oilers wants status quo. “I think we have the right mix right now,” he said.

  9. nskerr says:

    I totally disagree. Yes there are boring conference matchups, but who wants to go see Anaheim, Calgary, Phoenix, Nashville, Columbus and Edmonton as a eastern fan when you could see more Philly, Toronto, Rangers, Ottawa, Islanders and Pittsburgh?

    What I would do is shorten the schedule because it is too long and have division teams play more often. Who wants to watch hockey in late June when the ice is melting? I would have the East play the East and the West play the West until the playoffs. Then you would have a real fight for playoff positions that are fair because you would always be playing your own conference. Some teams now have to go to Vancouver while others don’t. How can you rate that as fair? But if the Isles and Rangers play 8 times a year for instance instead of 5, you would have 4 at home and 4 on the road and it would increase fan interest.

    Plus, having the conferences separated would give hockey’s all-star game a reason to go back to the format of east vs west instead of this stupid North Americans vs. World format.

    I think when the finals come around, like MLB, there is a mystery of whether Philly could beat Detroit or Dallas because they haven’t played each other and the 2 conferences would most likely develop a different style. That’s what would make hockey interesting. Not playing more out of conference games. Make each game important by playing a conference rival with less games in total and I think hockey would get much better.

  10. peanut_butter_shelf says:

    When I began reading this, I thought no way!!! But it kinda makes sense the more you think about it. I am usually 100% against major changes to the sport. i.e. I can’t stand the fact that a team gets a point for losing in overtime. The “pointing for trying hard.” But in this case, I like it and it wouldn’t take too long to get used to it.

    PS–The NHL has reinstated the old East/West format for the All-Star game–Thank God.

  11. cosmos says:

    I can understand your comment/concern. However Toronto fans might not want to see them play the Sabres five times, but I bet the Sabres fans would. You have to look at both sides. Every fan would like their team only play the elite teams. Would you be inlcuding Colorado, Dallas, Detroit if they were not elite teams and were the botton dwellers for the last few years?(maybe Detroit-original six)

  12. Wings4life says:

    Ya and look at the wings…… It sucks having the wings go on road trips out west like 8 times a year and the games dont start till 10, 1030, and during the week im not gunna get 3 hours of sleep just cuz the wings dont end till like 2. So I miss a lot of the road games unless they are on the weekend, thats why the wings should be in Eastern conference, so im kinda hoping that the sens, or the sabres move out west so the wings will go to the eastern conference.

  13. Wings4life says:

    I think that a Original 6 divison should be created… It would renew old rivalries.

  14. rojoke says:

    There’s something the NFL does which the NHL could adopt. A teams final standings determines which teams they play the following season, outside of the divisional games.

    For example, all the division winners (regular season, of course), would still play each other, but they wouldn’t necessarily play the teams which finished at the bottom of the division. The theory behind it is that teams of equal or similar talents levels would benefit more from playing each other than they would playing teams which are ahead of them in terms of developing players. Does Colorado really need to play Atlanta?

    If it were to be adopted, you could have 8 divisional games, 4 vs the conference teams, leaving 12 games to be played outside the conference. 1st and 2nd place teams play each other twice, leaving 2 games, which could be split up as each individual team requested. Toronto could make its regular Western Canada road trips, or play Detroit and Chicago once again.

  15. nskerr says:

    This is an interesting concept, but the reason it works in the NFL is that there are only 16 regular season games. Could you imagine if it was determined that Vancouver and Florida were considered equal strength. That would add so much travel and cost to trying to match these teams up, it wouldn’t make sense.

    Once you subtract the division teams, if you were to try this on a conference level, there is a good chance you would play more games against a opponent in another division than your own which wouldn’t make too much sense.

    The other thing is that free agency changes teams so quickly. Look at teams like the Rangers, they could end up with a crappy record one year and outspend the entire league the next bringing in every player known to man. Is it fair then to have to matchup against a team that can spend that much.

    If anything, if a salary cap is not instituted (I think it will be in 2004), maybe create an in conference schedule of a specific amount of divison games, a specific amount of non-divsion games and the rest against teams with the same payroll. That way you could see who the best team for the buck is. If the Rangers lets say had to play a team like Detroit a lot or Dallas or Colorado because of its payroll, I would think they would either look to change how they do business or lower their salaries.

  16. rojoke says:

    As you just said, the Rangers outspend most of the league, but still end up with a crappy record. On the other hand, Ottawa and Minnesota have smaller payrolls, but have been among the better teams on the ice for most of the season. And as for the travel, they already have to travel cross-country at least once or twice a year anyway. But instead of doing it twice, they may be able to make those games in one trip. It would be easier for Pacific and Northwest division teams in this scenario, because the Eastern conference teams are fairly close together. The Atlantic Division isn’t nicknamed the Bus Division for nothing.

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