Traditions are important. The names of the Conferences and Divisions should have been left alone. But that was done only to try and draw in and keep fans. The NHL will do anything to try and woo Americans into not just loving their home team but to want to watch hockey in general. For example: Fox and their 'glowing' puck experiment; or the over explanation of what all the on-the-ice calls meant ("Icing is when when the puck is shot down from the defender's side of the red line without another player touching the puck"
One of the biggest difference's between the average Canadian fan and the average American fan is that we Canadians will watch hockey for hockey's sake. My team has long been out of the playoffs (since about December, perhaps even October) but I continue to watch hockey. This Stanley Cup series has been one of the better ones in the last 4 years.
There are some things that can do with some changes, OT is one of them. While watching shootouts can be exciting for some people, before the latest lockout if teams were deadlocked then no one got the extra point if still tied after the OT. Now there were some of those 'old' games that were boring to watch because neither team cared at that time about the extra point. Offer an incentive for the teams to compete for the point. Make it 10 or 15 minutes long and offer the winning team the extra pt. Loser gets nothing, zero, zilch, nada.. To eliminate teams just coasting to deadlock the game and split the points the team with the most shots on goal get the point. At least then the fans know the puck will be shot on net more.
Finally the playoff format. Go to a top 16 (league-wide) make the playoffs. Then you have the absolute best regular season teams in the post season. Format is simple, #1 plays #16, #2 plays #15..etc.
And that's my 2 cents!