There's a poll on TSN.ca that I find interesting and the results I find quite amusing.
Would you be in favor of the East not meeting the West during the regular season?
The staggering vote is for NO, that East should meet up with West. I'm part of the minority vote that decided that the East should stay East. Now why would I side like that?
Looking past the Ultra-traditionalist insistence that all Canadian Teams play each other, there isn't much reason why the East should play the West during the season. Oh sure, Eastern Conference cities would absolutely love to see some of the talent from out west -- I look forward to when the Colorado Avalanche visit the Lightning every single year because the games are so damned exciting. The problem is the big games inter-conference are so few and far between that it just isn't justified for schedule making.
Perhaps adopting an NFL like system of rotating-divisions from each conference should be taken up? It helps in the final schedule design but also limits trips out west. It doesn't kill off any National rivalries - it just delays them for a season or two during the division rotation.
The NHL needs to move past the Ultra-traditionalist stance on things if the masses are going to pick up the game... You don't market to a select few with a pro sports league. You want to appeal to the masses and maximize marketing and coverage. Unfortunately the Ultra-Traditionalist runs the NHL and it makes the league more backwards than Major League Baseball.