Well that was a bummer! The NHLPA has rejected the plan for the new conferences next year, which was voted in favor of by the owners 26-4.
When the new plan originally had come out about a month ago I had very mixed feelings, however as time has passed I have become very much in favor of the plan and the benefits that it brings the Wings. Unless something unforseen were to happen in the near future, we will still be sticking to the old West and East conference formats next season. This is very disappointing as most hockey fans really like the realignment and that it would benefit a lot of teams, including the Wings.
This statement was released by NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly:
“It is unfortunate that the NHLPA has unreasonably refused to approve a plan that an overwhelming majority of our clubs voted to support, and that has received such widespread support from our fans and other members of the hockey community, including players,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement. “We have now spent the better part of four weeks attempting to satisfy the NHLPA’s purported concerns with the plan with no success. Because we have already been forced to delay, and as a result are already late in beginning the process of preparing next season’s schedule, we have no choice but to abandon our intention to implement the realignment plan and modified playoff format for next season.”
So now the questions will start to arise of why the NHLPA rejected the realignment plan. Did they believe that a team or some teams were either being to fairly treated or being unfairly treated or does it have something to do with the expiring CBA. Another factor that could now be in play is that if they do now stick with the old West and East conferences for another year, could they still move Winnipeg is a 1 for 1 switch, this opens it up for the Wings, Blue Jackets, and Predators to make the switch.
Ken Holland as expected was also very upset with the news as he and the rest of the Wings organization was “Thrilled” when the realignment was approved.
“We’d be disappointed if it’s on hold for a year,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “This is the first I’ve heard of it, but we’d be disappointed. We voted for realignment.”
As Winging it in Motown pointed out this could very well be the start of a “War” between the NHL and the NHLPA and could lead to another lockout. I don’t want to start potential lockout talk just yet but I have to say this, if there is a lockout of any sort, I will have lost all my respect for the NHL and the NHLPA. These next few days will surly be interesting as they will give us some more info on why this happened and what it will mean for the NHL’s future.
So for now lets just hold on and see where this takes us. Are we on the beginning of yet another sports war, or is this just a slight bump in the road. I will post more news as soon as more info comes out.
The NHLPA has released a statement saying the two major issues for not approving the realignment was travel and that two conferences had 8 teams while the other two only had 7. The NHLPA also said that it is still open for negotiations which is good news. This means that their is still hope that the realignment can happen before next season and although it does seam unlikely, we have to keep our hopes up.