#NHL #discussing #extending #regularseason #schedule
According to a report from Sportico, the NHL is looking for a way to rejuvenate division rivalries throughout the league and has discussed possibly extending its regular-season schedule from 82 to 84 games.
Nowadays, divisional opponents play one another only three or four times. Per the Sportico report, schedule changes on the table could increase the number of divisional games to as many as eight for the 2023-24 season.
Greg Wyshynski of ESPN confirmed the report on Friday.
Breaking down how little rivals cross paths in today’s NHL, Wyshynski used the New York Rangers as an example. Wyshynski pointed out that the Rangers and New York Islanders, who play only three times this season, will meet for the final time on Dec. 22, nearly four months before the season ends.
According to Wyshynski, expanding the schedule didn’t come up at this week’s NHL board of governors’ meeting. However, he believes that general managers will cover the topic when they meet in March.
General managers have also discussed alternatives to schedule expansion to increase the number of rivalry games. Per Wyshynski, one possible scenario would have NHL teams playing multiple games against one team during a single road trip, which the league did during the pandemic-shortened 2020-21 season.