Yes I know it's a little late to publish this but people are still trying to get the hang of the concept.
The “Wild Card” Playoff Race
The top three teams in each division are the first 12 teams to qualify for the playoffs. (Six in each conference.)
The remaining spots go to “wild card” teams: the two highest finishers in each Conference, regardless of division.
That makes eight playoff qualifiers in each Conference, with the possibility of up to five playoff teams from one division.
The Playoff Format
Wild card teams are seeded seventh and eighth in each Conference.
Teams finishing second and third in each Division play the first round of the playoffs within the Division.
The winners of each series play for berths in the Conference Championship series.
The two divisional champions in each conference play the Conference Finals to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.
For those of you who visit my blog often, this picture above this text is everywhere. The reason why I post this picture is because the new division format is new and a lot of people don’t have it memorized yet and it’s also a geographical segmentation of how the NHL plans to boost the ticket sales of financially inferior teams like Phoenix, Florida and Carolina. You see, when a few certain teams are in the same division, they play each other more often and when top market teams like Toronto and Montreal are put in a pool with Tampa and Florida, they`re going to be travelling to the Sunshine State more often. The loyalty and following of the Maple Leafs and Canadiens combined with the beneficial currency exchange rate between Canada and U.S.A. coincides with their willingness to travel to Florida to watch these games and that makes yield capacity management easier for the marketers there. It`s the same situation with Phoenix and Anaheim where they badly need people to attend games to make a profit so why not put these teams in the same division with Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver where fans there have the money to buy cheap airline and game tickets to see their favourite teams play there.
Besides the money, the NHL badly needed to reconfigure the division settings. It doesn’t make any sense to keep Winnipeg in the southeast division so making the transition to central division is a welcome and practical one but they have to play stronger teams like St. Louis and Chicago. Columbus and Detroit asked to be in the Eastern Conference for years and they finally got their wish. Detroit’s reason to make the switch is because they will play more Original Six teams more often like Boston, Toronto, New York Rangers and Montreal. They will also now enjoy a lighter travelling schedule as it will save valuable travel money. Columbus believes they will have a better chance to make the playoffs if they play in east as well as enjoying an easier travel schedule.
Pittsburgh and Washington are finally in the same division and that’s a plus for the league as Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby get to play each either in their heated rivalry more often. They couldn’t of picked a better time to put these teams in the same division as both Ovechkin and Crosby are playing their best hockey in their careers. Let’s bring on the rivalry!
I do have to admit that there is a negative aspect about this division transition and it’s because Chicago and Detroit are in opposite conferences and that’s a bummer they will still play each other once in awhile.
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