The league's board of governors approved a four-conference alignment format that was being trumpeted by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Monday at the December meetings in Pebble Beach, Calif.

The measure passed by a 26-4 vote, but the NHLPA still has to approve the two eight-team conferences and two seven-team conferences format.

Under the format, every team would play every other team outside its conference in a home-and-away series.

In the seven-team conferences, teams will play six times, three home, three away. In the eight-team conferences, teams would play either five or six times in a season on a rotating basis.

This process would reverse each season. An eight-team conference member that plays an opponent six times in one season would play it five times the following season.

The playoff implications from the new format would see the top four teams in each conference qualify for the postseason. The first-place team would play the fourth-place team while the second-place and third-place teams would square off.

The four respective conference champions would meet in the third round, with the two remaining teams playing for the Stanley Cup.

Here are how the new conferences shape up:

Conference A
Anaheim Ducks
Calgary Flames
Colorado Avalanche
Edmonton Oilers
Los Angeles Kings
Phoenix Coyotes
San Jose Sharks
Vancouver Canucks


Conference B
Chicago Blackhawks
Columbus Blue Jackets
Dallas Stars
Detroit Red Wings
Minnesota Wild
Nashville Predators
St. Louis Blues
Winnipeg Jets


Conference C
Boston Bruins
Buffalo Sabres
Florida Panthers
Montreal Canadiens
Ottawa Senators
Tampa Bay Lightning
Toronto Maple Leafs


Conference D
Carolina Hurricanes
New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders
New York Rangers
Philadelphia Flyers
Pittsburgh Penguins
Washington Capitals