Friday, February 1, 2008

AHL may reduce the number of games

The proposal is to go from the current 80-game schedule to a 72-game schedule (Note: the NHL plays 82 games and the ECHL plays 72).

[AHL President Dave] Andrews said, "there is a lot of interest from the NHL general managers for the league to do this. We would look to eliminate the current three games in three nights, and four games in five nights, giving the players more time to practice. This would eliminate some of the stress and fatigue for the players and allow for more instruction to help in their development." According to Andrews, the AHL has reticent to do so without some cost-sharing mechanism in place with the NHL, because of the significant financial impact on the teams. However, Andrews said that it is a top priority of the league, and that he expected something to be worked out at some point in the near future.

It's important to note that three-in-threes and four-in-fives are prohibited in the NHL. But they are not uncommon in the minor leagues, where owners like to capitalize on the more popular weekend dates.

Andrews also confirmed that the next AHL franchise may be in Austin, Texas, a revival of the Oilers dormant franchise. It would be sold to the Dallas Stars.

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