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Tuesday, October 24, 2021

back to balance?
Can this be right? Is NHL commissioner Gary Bettman actually considering doing away with the current scheduling formula that maximizes divisional contests while minimizing inter-conference play?

Bettman and the league committed to a new three-year schedule cycle after the lockout, designed to enhance [intra]-divisional rivalries with eight-game series, put other conference teams on a four-game plan and play non-conference opponents home and away once every three years.

That idea has been under criticism almost from its inception, either from players mixed at a steady diet of four division teams or fans robbed of seeing young stars such as Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin.

“We’re going to look at it after the season and see what changes make sense,” Bettman told a reporter on the weekend after most thought the league would let the plan run its course.

This may just be lip service, in response to some griping from the Maple Leafs over having to play Ottawa seven times in a month. Still, I really hope there’s some teeth to this. I maintain, as I did two times last year, that it gets downright repetitious to watch the same damned matchups practically every week. It’s boring.

The idea that it encourages fans to take in more of these rivalry games is, to me, false. If I’m not a ticket-season holder, I’m not going to go to more than one or two games against a particular rival — I want to see different matchups and different opposing players. Bringing in the same teams over and over again, especially in so short a timeframe, discourages ticket-buying.

Enough already. The league’s schedule-makers obviously can’t make this format work. Play an appropriate number of divisional games, then free up the schedule for the variety that inter-conference opponents would provide.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 10/24/2006 11:21:18 PM
Category: Hockey | Permalink |

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