Daily Links: NHL Realignment Could Be Blocked By NHLPA

USA TODAY Sports

The NHL is awaiting a response from the NHLPA on the latest realignment proposal.

The Dallas Stars and the team's fans have long been a fan of any sort of realignment plan, as long as that plan involved moving the team out of the Pacific Division. Everything else about such a proposal would merely be a distraction; move the Stars out of the division and everyone is happy.

Not so fast. Seems there are some teams that aren't exactly thrilled with this latest plan.

The NHLPA turned down the NHL's realignment proposal last season, upset that such a plan was formulated without input from the union and noting the plan raised more questions than it answered. The NHL's latest plan was even more aggressive yet also addressed more issues; Detroit and Columbus would move east, while the playoff format would be significantly changed to allow for the new alignment of two divisions in each of two uneven conferences.

The CBC's Elliotte Friedman notes that the NHLPA is working on a response and having to go through team representives nearly one or two at a time, with players from the East unhappy with the new playoff structuring. The NHL had stated it needed a response by last season for scheduling purposes and now it seems the NHLPA is dragging it's feet and slowing the process. Sort of like the lockout.

The reality is that the plan is certainly flawed. Uneven conferences, some odd hybrid of divisional playoffs and a wild card system and overall concern about the postseason structure notwithstanding -- the current realignment proposal appears to do nothing to address possible expansion in Quebec and elsewhere.

Mike Heika states the NHL should present more than one plan to the union:

While these divisions do make people like Dallas, Minnesota, Detroit and Columbus happy, they also seem to invite peril for the future. What if Phoenix eventually has to move, and the best location is to move to the East? What if you want expansion teams, and the best locations are in the East? Are you really going to send Detroit or Columbus over there for a couple of years and then toss them right back in the West?

And, seriously, Florida and Tampa with Ottawa and Toronto?

Yeah, if I'm the players, I have all sorts of problems with this set-up.

Heika also goes over a couple of proposals of his own, wondering why these simplistic tweaks couldn't have been an option as well.

It certainly seems as if realignment is in danger of being put off for another season, and once again this would happen because of a lack of cooperation between the league and the union. Goody.

Now for the links:

  • Mike Heika states the Stars are going to have to find a way to stop Jeff Carter, who has 15 goals on the season. [DMN]
  • Mark Stepneski has his preview for tonight's game against the Los Angeles Kings, noting that in their 6-4 win on Tuesday the Kings trailed 4-1 nearly midway through the game. [Stars Inside Edge]
  • Stepneski also looks ahead to Saturday, with the Stars on a quick but important road trip against two divisional opponents. [Stars Inside Edge]
  • Bob Sturm takes a look at how close the postseason race is once again and notes that the Stars would be on pace for a minus-74 differential in power play opportunities in a full season -- last season the Stars finished at minus-59. [Fox Sports SW]
  • SB Nation NHL breaks down all of the games from Wednesday, as the Blackhawks scored late to secure yet another win and the Ducks and Flames helped out by beating the Coyotes and Sharks -- regulation! [SBN]
  • The win for the Hawks came at a cost, as now Marian Hossa, Michael Frolik (flu), Andrew Shaw and Patrick Sharp are all now dealing with injuries. [SBN]
  • The New York Rangers claimed Roman Hamrlik off of waivers. Blueshirt Banter takes a look at the move -- which apparently was planned before the Marc Staal injury. [Blueshirt Banter]
  • On the good news front: Marc Staal is expected to make a full recovery -- although the full extent of the injury is not known just yet. [AP]
  • Related: The NHLPA is not in favor of mandatory visors. [SBN]
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