These rules have been in place for some time, now. Every year, at least one team is elevated to a seed that is higher than their accumulated points rank in the conference (and definitely league) standings. This year, the Phoenix Coyotes and the Florida Panthers have each won their respective division for the first time. Two warm-weather teams are elevated to top-three seeds and all of a sudden this playoff-seeding format is a disgrace to the league?
Ostensibly, the argument that the come-lately detractors use is that these teams have even fewer points than usual, for a division-leader. Oh no! The system is broken! It's a travesty that playoffs are seeded by geography, rather than merit (as determined by points). But in all the bitching and moaning about geographical determination of seeds, how many calls have there been to move from the 8/8 Western/Eastern conference-aligned playoffs to a much more equitable 16-seed league format? Last year, Dallas would have made the playoffs in such a format, bumping an East-Coast team from the post-season, and puting all 5 Pacific Division teams in the Top 16. I didn't hear much complaining in the media about that!
All the Eastern Conference Fans That Think That the Southeast Division Is Weak, have some consideration for the fact that they are dealing with the incalculable hardship of having to leave their time-zone to play a divisional team for the first time! They even have to do it after December! It's so hard!
The schedules are made according to divisions and conferences. It makes sense that the winners of the divisions should be awarded the top three seeds because, while there are times when a division-leader may be a weak team ahead of weaker teams, sometimes a division-leader is only a step ahead of the rest of their highly competitive division; sometimes, a strong team is vaulted to the top by the rest of their weak division (VANCOUVER). It's impossible to gauge the fairness of a given team's competition. Therefore, it is fairest to judge them first among the teams who have similar schedules and competition. This is not a problem of division-leaders being the top three seeds in the Eastern Conference. This is a problem of the Penguins and Flyers being bumped down the list behind the Panthers, a team for which nobody really gives a shit.
In conclusion: Quit complaining, you lousy, coddled, whiny, East-Coast bitches!