COLUMBUS, OHIO – Columbus Blue Jackets President Mike Priest issued the following statement after the National Hockey League Board of Governors approved a four-Conference alignment format and authorized Commissioner Gary Bettman to implement this proposal, pending input from the National Hockey League Players’ Association. The proposed alignment would place the Blue Jackets in a conference with the Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues and Winnipeg Jets.
“Today was a very good day for the Columbus Blue Jackets and our fans, who will now be assured of seeing every NHL team and all of the game’s best players every season at Nationwide Arena,” said Priest. “I continue to be impressed and encouraged by the Board, who was committed to making a decision that is in the best interest of the entire league. We are very excited about this and hope that our fans are as well.”
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE BELOW:
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (Dec. 5, 2011) - The National Hockey League Board of Governors tonight approved a four-Conference alignment format and authorized Commissioner Gary Bettman to implement this proposal, pending input from the National Hockey League Players’ Association. The format would create two eight-team Conferences and two seven-team conferences.
Under the format, every team would play every other team outside its conference twice - once home, once away.
In the seven-team Conferences, teams would play six times - three home, three away. In the eight-team Conferences, teams would play either five or six times in a season on a rotating basis; three teams would play each other six times and four teams would play each other five times. This process would reverse each season: An eight-team Conference member that plays an opponent six times in one season would play it five times the following season.
The top four teams in each Conference qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The first-place team would play the fourth-place team; the second-place team would play the third-place team. The four respective Conference champions would meet in the third round of the Playoffs, with the survivors playing for the Stanley Cup.
The Conference format:
| CONFERENCE D |
|Anaheim ||Chicago ||Boston ||Carolina |
|Calgary || |
|Buffalo || |
|Colorado ||Dallas ||Florida ||NY Islanders |
|Edmonton ||Detroit ||Montreal ||NY Rangers |
|Los Angeles ||Minnesota ||Ottawa ||Philadelphia |
|Phoenix ||Nashville ||Tampa Bay ||Pittsburgh |
|San Jose ||St. Louis ||Toronto ||Washington |
|Vancouver ||Winnipeg || || |