AHL Announces 76 Game Schedule, Other Modifications For 2011-12

The AHL announced today that they have made several modifications to the schedule structure for the 2011-12 season.

Here's the release:
Under the plan, the regular-season playing schedule will be reduced to 76 games; the AHL playing calendar will be extended by one week; all sequences in which teams play four games in five nights will be eliminated; and the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs will be reduced to a best-of-five series.
This is good news for West Division/Conference teams. Four games in five nights is always a killer for teams that have to fly between cities more often, like Texas and others in the division. With the subtraction of four games and the extension of the season by a week, hopefully scheduling will not be so hectic.

As to the first round change, the CHL and ECHL already have five game series in at least the opening round. Technically, teams that this would benefits, those who are travelling long distances, would still take the same number of trips between cities. However, this is more pointed at having fewer games and less wear and tear on the players. President Andrews said:
"As our league has grown and our game has become faster and more physical, the wear and tear on our players has begun to affect player development and at times the quality of competition. These steps are intended to provide a safer environment for our players through increased rest and recovery time, and also to provide our fans with an even higher caliber of play as a result of reduced player fatigue."
The overall plan will mean the elimination of two home games, which will minorly affect revenue, but the league feels that the changes positive benefits outweigh the revenue concern.