The NHL's Western Conference teams want an annual visit from bankable Eastern Conference stars, like Sidney Crosby. ((Kathy Willens/Associated Press))

The NHL's board of governors decided on Tuesday to stick with its current schedule scheme, voting down a proposal to change formats.

The proposal, which advocated switching back to the schedule used before the lockout, fell one vote short of the two-thirds majority needed to make the change.

The plan, which featured six divisional games and 18 games against the other conference, received 19 of 30 votes.

The current schedule came into effect after the lockout, and features eight divisional games and only 10 games in total against the other conference.

The NHL decided to go withits current format to encourage more fearsome regional rivalries. But critics argue the unbalanced schedule is too onerous on Western Conference teams.

Western teams are also unhappy the current schedule doesn't include guaranteed annual visits from bankable teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs and stars like Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman saidthe vote during a meeting was the "final discussion" on the contentious issue for the next little while.

"I'm not suggesting that this is the schedule for the next 100 years," said Bettman, in Dallas for the NHL All-Star Game. "We're going to finish the cycle and have to decide what to do after that.

"We started something. We're going to finish it."