NHL won't change schedule for 2007-08
TSN.ca with files from CP
1/23/2007 3:42:27 PM
The NHL will stay the course and will not change the regular season schedule for at least one more year.
That was the decision made the the league's board of governors on Tuesday in an effort to deal with its much-debated scheduling concerns.
A plan to switch back to the schedule the leagues used prior to the lockout, featuring six divisional games and 18 games against the other conference, received 19 of 30 votes. A two-thirds majority, or 20 votes, was needed to make the change.
Edmonton Oilers chairman Cal Nichols was frustrated by the league's decision.
''The politics seem to always enter into it,'' Nichols said after the meeting. ''I think we should be more concerned about the future of the game than specific interests or, 'It's going to cost me a few more thousand dollars to travel a few extra miles.' This shouldn't be about that. It's about the game.''
As it stands, the current format has teams playing eight divisional games, four games against each conference opponent outside the division, and selected teams from the other conference once each season.
It is believed the Montreal Canadiens may have been the only Canadian team to vote against the change.
''I'm very comfortable with the decision that was taken,'' said Canadiens president Pierre Boivin. ''Let's finish the cycle and take the time to carefully think about a solution.''
The schedule issue was debated earlier by the board this season in Palm Beach. A strong majority of teams were reported to want changes and did not want to see more divisional play.
For many teams in the Western Conference, there was added concerns about a heavier travel schedule and less opportunites to draw fans for Eastern Conference stars like Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin.