Follow the leader. Typically that is the case with the AHL and NHL. Take for instance the league going back to touch-up icing and sidelining hybrid-icing after the lockout, when NHL play resumed. Most recently in the news is the hot button issue of NHL realignment.

Most preliminary models show the NHL going with a framework involving four separate conferences, with two comprised of seven teams and two with eight apiece. That in theory would lend itself to a playoff format, wherein the top four of each respective conference would qualify for the post-season.

If that sounds familiar to you, thatís because over 20 years ago in the AHL it was pretty much the standard. Mind you at the time, the league was a little over half (16 teams) the size and made up of three divisions. Divisions consisting mostly of geographically close clubs from the Canadian maritime, New York/Pennsylvania and New England.


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