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Posted at 11:35 AM ET, 12/06/2011

NHL realignment: What do you think of the playoff format?

Image by Tom Fulery
The NHL’s board of governors voted last night to adopt a radical realignment plan that shifts the current six-division setup to a four-conference structure:

Conference AConference BConference CConference D
CalgaryColumbusBuffaloNew Jersey
ColoradoDallasFloridaN.Y. Islanders
EdmontonDetroitMontrealN.Y. Rangers
Los AngelesMinnesotaOttawaPhiladelphia
PhoenixNashvilleTampa BayPittsburgh
San JoseSt. LouisTorontoWashington

For Washington, the new format seems to be a good deal. (Though there are a few beat writers who may miss their three yearly visits to Miami.) The realigned conference would cut down travel time for the Capitals and reunite them with their old Patrick Division rivals.

NHL board of governors votes to adopt four-conference realignment
Capitals players, officials react to NHL realignment

The one area of concern for many teams, though, may be the proposed “divisional” playoff format. The top four teams in each conference would qualify for the playoffs. The first-place team would play the fourth-place team and second would play third. Then the conference champions would meet in the third round — though the league hasn’t determined how to seed those teams — with the survivors playing for the Cup.

But because the conferences are uneven, four teams in the western conferences would miss the playoffs while only three teams from each conference in the east would be out.

Would a different setup make more sense? Should the league expand — or contract — to make it even?

Share your thoughts with us on the playoff format under the new plan and what you’d do to improve it. The most recommended ideas will appear at the top of the comments section below.

By  |  11:35 AM ET, 12/06/2011

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