NHL will not switch to all-conference schedule

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The Independent Online

Fans in New York will still see the Los Angeles Kings come to town. Whether the Ottawa Senators will play there is another question.

Fans in New York will still see the Los Angeles Kings come to town. Whether the Ottawa Senators will play there is another question.

Interconference games will stay for the time being, but the future of the Senators is still up in the air. Those were two key issues discussed on Tuesday as the NHL Board of Governors met at the Boca Raton Resort and Club.

Recently, there had been rumors that to save money on travel and reduce scheduling problems, the league would stop sending Eastern Conference teams out west and vice versa.

"We had a brief discussion and overwhelmingly the board's view was there's no point in discussing the elimination of interconference games," commissioner Gary Bettman said. "I took an informal poll ... it's really a non-issue."

Some wanted to see the league switch to an all-conference schedule during the regular season instead of having teams like Vancouver traveling to Florida and New Jersey going to Calgary.

Ottawa owner Rod Bryden, hoping to receive tax relief to keep the Senators in Canada, gave an update on his team's instability. If he doesn't get the financial breaks, Ottawa could join Canadian cities such as Quebec and Winnipeg that have lost teams to US cities.

He said the NHL has not discussed a possible sale or move of the Senators.

The two-day meeting will end Wednesday morning. Among the issues on the agenda will be the participation of NHL players in the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. The league does not want to shut down for two weeks as it did last year for the Nagano Games.

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