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The Sports and Exhibition board is making way for new arena. They have acquired the land needed for demolition in the past couple months and they have now laid out their time line. The only problem is for this arena to get built by 2009, the city needs the Penguins to agree on Plan B and unless the city council renegotiates Plan B significantly to the Penguins favor there will be no arena in 2009. Luke Ravensthal stated yesterday he is perhaps willing to work with the Penguins towards the “Pirates Deal”. The Pirates deal only calls for them to pay 40 million over 30 years. Currently Plan B calls for the Penguins to pay 143 million over 30 years. Now what is fair? What is fair is for the Penguins to pay between 40-50 million or something to similar to the “Pirate deal”. Anything above 45 million is ridiculous.

The NHL is considering significant overhaul regarding its schedule conflict. The idea is to reduce the divisions from 6 to 4. TSN is reporting this is how the divisions may be aligned. A reduction in the number of divisions from six to four. There would still be an Eastern Conference and a Western Conference, but there were would one eight-team division and one seven-team division in each conference. The top two teams in each division would be guaranteed the top four playoff seeds within the conference with four wild card playoff berths going to the teams with the next highest point totals.

The four new divisions would be configured primarily along the lines of time zones. The theory is not only would this benefit teams in terms of travel, but could also boost TV ratings because game times in the same time zone would be more favorable.

The current Northeast Division (Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Buffalo and Boston) would remain intact and add two other teams to form a seven-team division. Sources say Pittsburgh is one of those teams that would join the Northeast teams.

The current Atlantic Division (the three New York area teams plus Philadelphia) would be melded together with four teams from the current Southeast Division (all but one of Washington, Carolina, Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Florida).

The eight-team division in the Western Conference would feature all teams in Pacific or Mountain time zones (Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose, Colorado and Phoenix). The seven-team division in the Western Conference would feature teams that are in either the Central or Eastern time zones.

As for the schedule, it is said to be a little more complicated than it currently is, because of the uneven number of teams in the divisions, but each team will apparently play its division rivals six times each and its conference rivals either three or four times each and non-conference teams once each. ( per

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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