Just as it did last year, the schedule for the NHL in 2007 sucks. In what Bettman described as intensifying divisional rivalries, teams within the same division face off against each other a gut wrenching total of eight times.
Newsflash: It doesn't intensify rivalries, it bores the hell out of viewers. I hate watching the same teams play over and over and over.
Here is how the schedule works: The NHL is divided into two conferences, with three divisions in each conference.
5 teams in same division: Teams play each division rival each eight times - 32 games.
10 teams in same conference but not division play four times each - 40 games
15 teams in other conference, of which ten total games are played. - 10 games.
Since ten games are played outside the conference, five are at home and five are away. So stars like Sydney Crosby, who are likely to sell out crowds no matter where they go, are only allowed to visit any particular cross conference city once approximately every three years, if not less. So for hardcore hockey fans of the fifteen teams out West, only five of them are lucky enough to see Crosby in a home game this year.
Meanwhile, Philidelphia, New Jersey, the Islanders and the Rangers get to see Crosby four times each. If you live in the New York area, you have options of hopping to New Jersey, MSG, or the Island to take him in - a whopping twelve games in that area.
Compared to once every three years in Minnesota, Chicago, Nashville, or San Jose - struggling markets where his presence could really help.
How it should have been...
There should have been five games against divisional rivals, for a total of 20 games.
There should be three games against conference rivals for a total of 30 games.
There should be two games against each cross conference rival, with the extra two games for old rivalries or bonus games that make sense. Toronto-Detroit, Chicago-Montreal, etc.
Otherwise, the schedule doesn't make sense. Someone mentioned teams are upset about travelling out west so much.
Then why is Detroit in the same conference with Western teams? It's okay to screw Detroit on the schedule, but not give an extra ten games on the road to every other NHL team?
The NHL management is incompetent and insensitive to the fans. It's long past time a rival league put these bufoons out of business.