Kukla's Korner Hockey
We all know the division and conference set-up for next season, so here is the wild card plan as described by Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
The Stanley Cup Playoffs will still consist of 16 teams, eight in each conference, but it will be division-based and a wild-card system has been added as a new wrinkle.
The top three teams in each division will make-up the first 12 teams in the playoffs. The remaining four spots will be filled by the next two highest-placed finishers in each conference, based on regular-season points and regardless of division. It will be possible, then, for one division to send five teams to the postseason while the other sends three.
The seeding of the wild-card teams within each divisional playoff will be determined on the basis of regular-season points. The division winner with the most points in the conference will be matched against the wild-card team with the lowest number of points; the division winner with the second-most points in the conference will play the wild-card team with the second fewest points.
The teams finishing second and third in each division will play in the first round of the playoffs. The winners of each series will play for the divisional championship.
read on for the complete realignment plan...
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The NHL and NHL Players' Association have agreed to change this season's escrow rate to 20 percent, sources confirmed to ESPN.com.
That's up from the 10 percent rate both sides had agreed upon in late January shortly after the season began.
The change comes as a result of lower than originally projected NHL revenues for the lockout-shortened season.
That means players, as of this week, will fork over 20 percent of every paycheck into an escrow fund until both the league and NHLPA figure out the final numbers next summer or next fall in terms of hockey-related revenue.
Toronto (March 7, 2013) – NHLPA Executive Director Don Fehr issued the following statement this evening:
“After discussions with the Executive Board, the NHLPA has given consent to realignment, to be re-evaluated following the 2014-15 season.”
NEW YORK (March 7, 2013) -- Bill Daly, Deputy Commissioner of the National Hockey League, released the following statement regarding the proposed Plan for Realignment:
"The NHL Players' Association confirmed to us today that it has consented to a revised Plan for Realignment, effective for the 2013-14 season. Our next step will be to bring the proposed Plan for Realignment to the NHL Board of Governors for its consideration. We will update the status of the process as future developments warrant."
Sportsnet’s Chris Simpson asks Donald Fehr about his and the NHLPA’s feelings about realignment among other inquiries.
from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
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.
So why haven’t we seen other options? You and I can think up a few right now. How about a minor tweak of the current system that is designed to patch a few holes, but also leave the door open for bigger changes in a year or two?
Would you have a problem with this:
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
In The department of player safety, the NHL Players’ Association has much to answer for, as does the NHL.
For last night at the Garden, when a Kimmo Timonen drive rocketed off Jakub Voracek’s blade up into the right eye of Marc Staal at 5:45 of the third period, it served as yet another reminder and another example of the insanity of not making visors a mandatory piece of equipment in the NHL.
This “personal choice” position on the issue staked out by the PA that is no more and no less a consensus of its rank and file is from another era.
Can there be anything more precious than one’s eyes; anything more critical to protect than one’s vision?
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
If the latest proposal for NHL realignment is shot down again by the players, the deal-breaker will be the playoff format.
“That’s the big thing, the evenness in making the playoffs,” New Jersey Devils goaltender Johan Hedberg said Monday. Hedberg, though, doesn’t like the word deal-breaker, adding he expects there will be more “tweaking” of the format before the NHL Players’ Association is asked to approve it....
“I’d like to hear some more arguments, for my personal view,” Toronto Maple Leafs player rep Dave Steckel said of the proposed playoff format....
But the players appear willing to put up with travel inequities as long as a wild-card system gives more teams at shot at the playoffs. And for good reason, Steckel says.
“From a player standpoint, some [new] contracts are earned in the playoffs,” he said. “A lot of guys would rather be in the playoffs working for their next contract,” rather than seeing one or two less regular-season road trips.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The plan was detailed in an NHL memo sent to all 30 clubs Tuesday, which a team source leaked to ESPN.com.
The new plan calls for divisional playoffs, not conference playoffs as the NHL currently has. The division winner with the most regular-season points will play the lowest-seeded wild-card team in the first round, with the other division winner playing the other wild-card team.
The plan still needs approval from the NHL Players' Association plus the NHL's Board of Governors. The NHLPA and NHL have been working on these changes for the past three weeks.
If approved by all parties, the plan would go into effect for next season.
The Eastern Conference would feature the Atlantic and Central divisions while the Western Conference would have the Mid-West and Pacific Divisions.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
"The last two weeks we’ve been in constant communication with the NHLPA on realignment issues," deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN.com Tuesday. "We’ve been exchanging information and we’re trying to get to a resolution as soon as possible."
Time is of the essence because the league’s schedule-maker needs to get going on next season’s matrix.
If all goes well between the NHLPA and NHL -- the two sides are slated to meet again next week -- the NHL could have a realignment framework for the 30 owners to vote on the week of Feb. 25. Similarly, the NHLPA would run the realignment plan past its executive board (30 player reps) for approval.
Several team executives and governors contacted by ESPN.com Tuesday were in the dark about what the league was determining for realignment. And just what exactly the league and union have been working on the last two weeks, neither NHL nor NHLPA officials would divulge Tuesday. But it’s believed the framework is a slight variation from the December 2011 realignment format. And when I say variation, I believe there are a couple of teams that have been switched around from the original December 2011 format.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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