Welcome to the land of 7 PM starts and less travel
The NHL Board of Governors has officially given the NHL's realignment plan their stamp of approval, so next season the Red Wings will have a host of new team to start to hate.
Since no one cares about the other 3 divisions/conferences/whatever, here is a list of Conference C, Detroit's new home:
Per a press release from the Red Wings, the schedule breaks down as follows:
Within Conference (Division): 30 games
* 5 games vs. two teams (3 Home/2 Away vs. one team, 2 Home/3 Away vs. one
team) AND 4 games vs. five teams (2 Home/2 Away). Teams rotated on a yearly
* 5 X 2 =10 games
* 4 X 5 = 20 games
Within Conference (Non-Division): 24 games
* 3 games vs. each team (2 Home/1 Away vs. four teams, 1 Home/2 Away vs.
four teams). Teams rotated on a yearly basis.
* 3 X 8 = 24 games
Non-Conference: 28 games
* 2 games vs. each team (1 Home/1 Away)
* 2 X 14 = 28 games
Long story short is that we'll continue to see an "unbalanced" schedule in that Detroit will play 2 teams within their conference 5 times a year and the rest 4 times. And before you get excited about playing Florida 5 times a year, I'll ask you to check the Wings' record against Columbus and remind you not to count your chickens before they hatch.
The playoff format is changing too. Seedings are based on you finish within your division, and finishing in the top-3 within your division guarantees a playoff spot. There will be 2 "wild card" spots available for the top 2 teams in points after the 6 playoff spots have been taken (think of seeds 4-8 in each conference currently). The division winner with the most points will play the wild card team with the lowest points, while the other division winner will play the wild card team with the most points. 2nd and 3rd place within the division will play each other in the first round.
From there, it's a straight bracket-style. The two teams who win within the division advance to play in the divisional semi-finals, and then on to the conference finals. The Stanley Cup Finals will continue to be the East winner vs the West winner. Which means no Boston-Montreal Stanley Cup.