Pardon the scattered nature of updates but this is the way the news broke...
Per @EJHradek_NHL: NHL Commissioner Bettman makes it official. The league will go to a four Conference set-up. Two with 8 teams and two with 7 teams.
@cotsonika: Bettman will talk to NHLPA before implementation.
From @CraigCustance: Gary Bettman said realignment discussion lasted "probably about an hour."
From @TSNBobMcKenzie: First two rounds of playoffs are strictly within conference -- 1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3, winners face each other. Just like old Divisional format.
Finally, here is the official release from Dan Rosen on NHL.com.
From NHL.com comes the official conference realignment.
Make the jump for the for the official release from the NHL...
BOARD OF GOVERNORS APPROVES FOUR-CONFERENCE FORMAT
Authorizes Commissioner To Implement, Pending Input From NHL Players’ Association
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (Dec. 5, 2011) -- The National Hockey League Board of Governors tonight approved a four-Conference alignment format and authorized Commissioner Gary Bettman to implement this proposal, pending input from the National Hockey League Players’ Association. The format would create two eight-team Conferences and two seven-team conferences.
Under the format, every team would play every other team outside its conference twice -- once home, once away.
In the seven-team Conferences, teams would 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; three teams would play each other six times and four teams would play each other five times. 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 top four teams in each Conference qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The first-place team would play the fourth-place team; the second-place team would play the third-place team. The four respective Conference champions would meet in the third round of the Playoffs, with the survivors playing for the Stanley Cup.
The Conference format:
CONF. A CONF. B CONF. C CONF. D
Anaheim Chicago Boston Carolina
Calgary Columbus Buffalo NJ Devils
Colorado Dallas Florida NY Islanders
Edmonton Detroit Montreal NY Rangers
Los Angeles Minnesota Ottawa Philadelphia
Phoenix Nashville Tampa Bay Pittsburgh
San Jose St. Louis Toronto Washington
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass