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Encyclopedia > Season structure of the NHL

The National Hockey League (NHL) season is divided into the regular season and the Stanley Cup playoffs. In the regular season, teams play 82 games which determine their standings. The eight top-seeded teams in each conference enter the playoff elimination tournament to determine the Stanley Cup champion. The Stanley Cup The Stanley Cup is the championship trophy of the National Hockey League (NHL), the major professional hockey league in Canada and the United States. ... A tournament is a competition involving a relatively large number of competitors, all participating in a single sport or game. ... The Stanley Cup This is a list of Stanley Cup champions, including the finalists/challengers. ...

Contents

Regular season

Each team in the NHL plays 82 regular season games, 41 games at home and 41 on the road. “NHL” redirects here. ... “NHL” redirects here. ... The regular season is a term used, primarily, in North American sports. ...


Teams play 40 games against the ten opponents in the other divisions of their own conference (two home and two road games against each), and 32 games again the other four teams in their own division (four home and four road games against each). Teams play 10 games against teams in the opposite conference: One game at home against each of the five teams in one division in the opposite conference, and one game on the road against each of the five teams in another division in the opposite conference. Teams will not play the five teams in the third division of the opposite conference in a particular season. The interconference division matchups rotate each season.


The season is typically divided approximately in half by the NHL All-Star Game and its accompanying festivities, during which no regular season games take place. The National Hockey League All-Star Game (French: Match des Étoiles de la Ligue Nationale de Hockey) is an exhibition hockey game that marks the midway point of the National Hockey Leagues regular season, with many of the leagues star players playing against each other. ...


Two points are awarded for a win (including in overtime or shootout), one point for a loss in overtime or shootout, and no points for a loss in regulation time.


At the end of the regular season, 16 teams, eight from each conference, qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs. The teams are seeded one through 8 in each conference. The teams that finish with the most points in each division are crowned the division champions, and are seeded one through three based on their point records. The next five teams with the best records in the conference are seeded four through eight. In the event of a tie in points in the standings, ties are broken using the following tiebreaking procedures:[1] The higher ranked team is the one with: Tiebreaker A question used in the event of a tie at the end of a pub quiz, where the answer is oten a figure not likely to be known, the winner is the closest to the answer, thus it breaks the deadlock. ...

  1. The fewer number of games played. (Only used during the season, as all teams will have played 82 games once the season is over.)
  2. The greater number of games won.
  3. The greater number of points earned in games between the tied clubs.
  4. The greater differential between goals for and against for the entire regular season.

Stanley Cup playoffs

The Stanley Cup playoffs is an elimination tournament consisting of four rounds of best-of-seven series. The first three rounds determine which team from each conference will advance to the final round, dubbed the Stanley Cup Finals. The winner of that series becomes the NHL/Stanley Cup champion. The most recent Stanley Cup playoffs are the 2007 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Offical Logo for the 2007 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. ...


The first round of the playoffs, or Conference Quarterfinals, consists four matchups in each conference, based on the seedings (1-8, 2-7, 3-6, and 4-5). In the second round, or Conference Semifinals, the top remaining conference seed plays against the lowest remaining seed, and the other two remaining conference teams pair off (unlike the NBA, for example, where the 1-8 winner always plays the 4-5 winner, regardless of who wins). In the third round, the Conference Finals, the two remaining teams in each conference play each other, with the conference champions proceeding to the Stanley Cup Finals.


For the first three rounds, the higher-seeded team has home-ice advantage (regardless of point record). In the Stanley Cup Finals, it goes to the team with the better regular season record. The team with home-ice advantage will host games 1, 2, 5 and 7, while the opponent hosts games 3, 4 and 6 (games 5-7 are played "if necessary").


Criticisms

The decision to radically change the regular season schedule after the lockout by drastically reducing interconference play has proven controversial. The NHL has received complaints from clubs that are unable to play traditional rivals in the opposite conference in the regular season. Notably, the placement of the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks in the West has distanced these clubs from rivalries with the other Original 6 teams, since they are in the Eastern conference. In general, there are several recurring critisisms of the schedule: The Detroit Red Wings are a professional ice hockey team based in Detroit, Michigan. ... The Chicago Blackhawks are a professional ice hockey team based in Chicago, Illinois. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...

  1. The five teams from the opposite conference that a team won't play each year (on a three year rotating cycle)
  2. That home fans will only have each opposite conference team visit their arena once every three years.
  3. The frequency of games against the same teams. While many rivalries exist within NHL divisions, some teams will face eight games a season against teams that fans might not be particularly eager to see, with several of these games often played in the span of a couple of weeks.
  4. The unbalanced schedule created by 32 of 82 games being intra-division. It is argued that a good team in a weaker division will have an easier schedule than if it were in a strong division, making it easier to make the playoffs, win their division, and consequently, rank higher.

The future

During the 2006-07 season, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced that he will keep the current format for the 2007–08 season, thus allowing for at least one full rotation since the system was put into place. The 2006-07 NHL season is the 89th regular season of the National Hockey League (NHL). ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... The 2007-08 NHL season will be the 90th season of the National Hockey League (NHL). ...


However, it is rumored that another major NHL re-alignment is on the way for 2008. Several alternate formats (for the league and the schedule) have been suggested: See also:2007 in sports, 2009 in sports, list of years in sports. Scheduled Events February 3 - Super Bowl XLII held at the new Arizona Cardinals stadium in Glendale, Arizona. ...

  • Re-alignment into two conferencs of two divisions each instead of the current three, with the divisions roughly aligned on the basis of standard time zones. It has been futher proposed that the top two teams in each division would automatically qualify for the playoffs, with the second place teams being awarded the third and fourth seeds. [2]
  • Re-alignment into four conferences, with the six Canadian teams placed in one conference and three eight-team conferences created for the U.S. teams. The conferences may or may not be further split into divisions under such a format. Reducing the conferences' size would allow for teams to play home and away against each inter-conference opponent while still allowing for several games against each intra-conference opponent.

See also

This is a list of the most common NHL playoff series that have occurred. ... This article is becoming very long. ... This is a list of NHL franchise playoff appearance streaks. ... This is a list of current NHL franchise post-season and Stanley Cup droughts. ...

External links

  • NHL.com - Stanley Cup Playoff Formats

 
 

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