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NHL plans four Conferences for next season

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PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. - It took less than an hour for NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to push through his vision for realignment at the league's Board of Governor's meetings on Monday.

Bettman needed 20 votes to carry the four-conference alignment format.

The board authorized Bettman to implement this proposal, pending input from the National Hockey League Players Association.

The league will now consist of two eight-team conferences and two seven-team conferences.

Every team will now play every other team outside its conference in a home and home series.

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.

The top four teams in each Conference qualify for the postseason.

The Conference format:

CONF. A                   CONF. B                CONF. C                   CONF. D

Anaheim                  Chicago                  Boston                  Carolina

Calgary                    Columbus               Buffalo                  NJ Devils

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

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