How does that reduce travel, especially in the Richard and Smythe??? Your plan would more or less have east teams hitting every team out west for an 8-9 game trip, which will end up keeping them on the road for nearly a month.
Uh, I've got them with less games then before. They don't play all nine in a row on the west coast. They go out for three games, three times... just like now.
It reduces travel by changing the scheduling format from what it was before.
Secondly, it would help you to go take a look at the standings from expansion onward. If you notice, the trend is away from the Original Six in one division and the Next 6 in another to more and more geographical divisions. Why? Twofold. 1) reduced travel costs, since you're playing teams closer to you and not going all the way to the other coast to play divisional games
The number of GAMES vs each team is really similar to the current setup, the only thing different is a few less trips across the country or against teams you're not rivals with.... AND THE STANDINGS PAGE.
I don't know how to be clearer than this:
Old: BOS at CAL, LA, SJ, MIN, COL, VAN, DAL, LA, ANA (all out of conference)
New: BOS at CAL, CAL, LA, LA, SJ, SJ, MIN, MIN, COL, COL (all in conference). Boston's would have ZERO games vs the other west teams (EDM, VAN, ANA, DAL or NASH, which are out of conference).
The games they currently play vs out of conference teams far away are now conference games. That's it.
What does it matter if you're playing divisional games far away, if you play the same number of games far away as you did before; and you're still playing those regional rivals?
2) and you're going to foster rivalries that fans get behind easier when you're playing local teams. If you're a Montreal fan, who are you going to want to see more? New Jersey or Ottawa, who is about an hour away compared to maybe 7 for New Jersey. I think the answer is obvious.
That's not the issue. The number of games vs each regional team is essentially the same. It's the number of games vs regional foes. For Montreal's case, it's the number of games vs the Southeast that changes.
Now instead of playing 20 games vs WAS, ATL, TB, FLA, CAR, they'd play 12 vs WAS, ATL, FLA and a total of two MAX against TB, CAR.
If you look at what I did, basically, there are two divisions currently in the NHL that are geographic outliers. In the East, two divisions are in the North and East part of the continent, and the southeast division is down south and far away. And no one wants to play them because they have no histories.
In the West, two divisions are in the vast mountain and pacific time zones, but the central division has teams from the central and east time zone. Which creates horrible travel for those teams.
So I scheduled around that by re-distributing conferences.
There's not more travel west just because they are in the same conference.
There's not fewer rivalry games just because they are in different conferences.
There's now the chance for mutual success in one given area (A Subway Stanley Cup; an All-Toronto Final; an All-Alberta Final, an LA Stanley Cup Final, an all-Florida Final, etc).