Under the new format, approved at the League meetings in Pebble Beach, Calif., and scheduled to begin in 2008-09, teams will play each club in their division six times, a total of 24 games, and the 10 other clubs in their conference four times, a total of 40 games.
The remaining 18 games in the 82-game schedule will involve each club playing all 15 clubs in the other conference at least once, home or away. The three remaining games will be devoted to inter-conference “at-large” scheduling.
"The sense of the board was we heard the concerns raised by some of the fans, and this was an attempt to be responsive to the concerns of our fans," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said.
Under the current format, adopted for the 2005-06 season, teams play their four division rivals eight times each, the other 10 teams in their conference four times apiece, and 10 games against teams in the other conference — five home games against one division and five away games against another, with no games against teams in the remaining non-conference division.
The new schedule allows for each team to play every other team at least once a season.