NHL contemplates 84 game schedule but should they?

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The NHL is pondering expanding its regular season from 82 to 84 games, according to reports from Sportico and ESPN.

Each NHL club has played 82 regular-season games since the 1995-96 season. In the current formula, each team plays its divisional opponents either three or four times (26 games), three games against conference teams outside the division (24 games) and a simple home-and-away set against every team from the opposite conference (32 games).

The NHL went from 80 games to 84 games for two seasons from 1992-93 to 1993-94. After a lockout to start the 1994-95 campaign the CBA was agreed that the regular season will be 82 games.

NHL contemplates 84 game schedule

nhl salary cap gary bettman
May 27, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; NHL commissioner Gary Bettman speaks at a press conference before game one of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final between the Boston Bruins and the St. Louis Blues at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

That creates some imbalance among division opponents, though, as one team might have to face the best club in the division four times and another might only have to play them three times.

Sportico reported Thursday that when NHL general managers met in Toronto last month, they deliberated different ways to improve the schedule to reduce teams’ travel and increase the number of rivalry games.

Another idea was to have teams play multiple games against an opponent while the visiting side is in town — essentially baseball-style series, which were popular with players when they were implemented it in the pandemic-shortened 2020-21 season.

ESPN reported Friday that commissioner Gary Bettman is not against the idea of expanding the regular season.

Players would have to approve any expansion, because their collective bargaining agreement allows for only an 82-game season.

Ultimately it begs the question: should the NHL really add more games to schedule? Considering the amount of injuries these season with a number of teams playing a lot of back to back sets, it may not be prudent to add more games to an already condensed calendar.

–Field Level Media

–The Daily Goal Horn contributed to this article