NHL: League unveils realignment plan

The National Hockey League on Tuesday unveiled a proposed realignment plan based on geographic proximity and featuring a playoff format that would include wild card entrants.

The proposal calls for four groupings based primarily on geographic locations, divided into Atlantic, Central, Midwest and Pacific Divisions. The Eastern and Western Conference would keep their names.

The breakdown for the new divisions would have Carolina, Columbus, New Jersey, the New York Islanders, the New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington in the Atlantic.

Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Florida and Tampa Bay would be in the Central Division.

Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis and Winnipeg would be in the Midwest.

Anaheim, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, San Jose, Los Angeles and Phoenix would be in the Pacific.

Under the latest proposal, the top three clubs in each of the four divisions would qualify for the playoffs. The final four positions would go to the two teams in each conference with the next-best records.

The new plan would go into effect for the 2013-14 season.