Division-heavy play to remain through 2007-08 season

Updated: December 5, 2006, 5:25 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

PALM BEACH, Fla. -- NHL officials decided Tuesday that there will be no immediate changes in regular-season scheduling or in the way playoff matchups are determined.

League and team officials met for two days, discussing having teams play fewer games against division opponents in order to face more opponents from the other conference.

The playoff talks focused on going to a bracket format instead of the current method in which teams are reseeded after the opening round based on regular-season performance.

"The view was that the competitive issue by reseeding predominates over everything else," Bettman said, adding that the current system will remain.

He also said the regular-season scheduling part of the discussions is not a dead issue.

"I think there was sentiment in the room that change should be and could be considered, but I think on balance people believe that what we have now is better than any of the alternatives," Bettman said. "I'll probably appoint a committee and we'll take a look at it on an ongoing basis."

The potential schedule change arose for two reasons: fans wanting to see star players from the other conference in their arena more often and because western teams travel more than teams from the east.

Anaheim general manager Brian Burke wasn't in favor of the potential changes.

"I think we've reached a crescendo because we now have a couple good players in the league," he said, referring to Washington's Alexander Ovechkin and Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby. "We're not going to change the schedule just because we've got a couple of good players. They could get traded tomorrow. Then what are you going to do? It's got to make more sense than that."

Edmonton president and CEO Patrick LaForge took the other side, though he said he still wasn't disappointed with the meetings.

"We'd like to have seen a schedule change, but I'm just speaking for Edmonton," LaForge said. "Still, we're sold out -- our building is full, so that means our fans are happy. I'm not going to complain."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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