Friday, January 6, 2012

NHL Press Release - NHLPA Rejects Proposed Realignment

Fresh on the heels of Bryan Willey and Rosalyn Roy's He Said/She Said article on NHL realignment, the NHL has announced that the PA has rejected the proposed realignment.

Here's the presser:


NEW YORK (January 6, 2012) - The National Hockey League announced today that it will not move forward with implementation of the Realignment Plan and modified Playoff Format recently approved by the NHL Board of Governors for the 2012-13 NHL season because the NHLPA has refused to provide its consent.

“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,” said NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. “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.”

“We believe the Union acted unreasonably in violation of the League’s rights. We intend to evaluate all of our available legal options and to pursue adequate remedies, as appropriate.”

As a result of the League’s decision today, the NHL will maintain its current alignment and Playoff Format for the 2012-13 season.

Kamal's Note: So does this seem like posturing by the NHLPA to anyone else? And by posturing I mean fodder for the upcoming CBA negotiations.

The PA is clearly maneuvering themselves to have as much leverage as possible when they sit down to hammer out the new CBA this summer. Just like Gary Bettman did to the KHL by suggesting NHL players may not go to Sochi in 2014, the PA is holding this card.

It's something they will likely use as a bargaining chip. On a slightly more worrisome level, this perhaps shows the face of PA head, Donald Fehr.

The PA is sure to release their own statement soon enough but, until then, hold on to your hats because the CBA negotiations could be about to get heated!


Kamal, it is posturing by the PA and I think the league did the right thing. Pull it off the table completely and don't allow it to be used as a club by the union. They may want to bargain it, but the league can just say, 'nah, we'll just leave it as is.' The truth is, this realignment was better for the players. Just look at the division with all the NY and PA teams in it. Travel would be a lot lighter for all teams and start times would be more reasonable, especially on the west coast, but Don Fehr is doing what he did for years in baseball. He's creating an acrimonious atmosphere. This is the beginning of a very rocky relationship.

@Higgs: I think you're bang on my friend. Fehr knows how these CBA negotiations work and he is starting, in earnest, to gain some leverage.

You can tell by the wording of the leagues statement (above) that they are not happy with the PA's decision.

Apparently Fehr and Bettman are supposed to start preliminary talks at the All Star game. I'd love to be a fly on the wall of that meeting!

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