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NHLPA Statement On Realignment

Toronto (January 6, 2012) – National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) Executive Director Don Fehr issued the following statement this evening regarding the League’s realignment proposal:

“On the evening of December 5, 2011, the NHL informed the NHLPA that they proposed to put in place a four-conference format beginning with the 2012-13 season. As realignment affects Players’ terms and conditions of employment, the CBA requires the League to obtain the NHLPA’s consent before implementation. Over the last month, we have had several discussions with the League and extensive dialogue with Players, most recently on an Executive Board conference call on January 1. Two substantial Player concerns emerged: (1) whether the new structure would result in increased and more onerous travel; and (2) the disparity in chances of making the playoffs between the smaller and larger divisions.

In order to evaluate the effect on travel of the proposed new structure, we requested a draft or sample 2012-13 schedule, showing travel per team.  We were advised it was not possible for the League to do that. We also suggested reaching an agreement on scheduling conditions to somewhat alleviate Player travel concerns (e.g., the scheduling of more back-to-back games, more difficult and lengthier road trips, number of border crossings, etc.), but the League did not want to enter into such a dialogue.  The travel estimation data we received from the League indicates that many of the current Pacific and Central teams, that have demanding travel schedules under the current format, could see their travel become even more difficult. On the playoff qualification matter, we suggested discussing ways to eliminate the inherent differences in the proposed realignment, but the League was not willing to do so.

The League set a deadline of January 6, 2012 for the NHLPA to provide its consent to the NHL’s proposal.  Players’ questions about travel and concerns about the playoff format have not been sufficiently addressed; as such, we are not able to provide our consent to the proposal at this time.  We continue to be ready and willing to have further discussions should the League be willing to do so.”

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Comments

Puppies and Hookers's avatar

Never thought I’d see the day when I side with Bettman against the player’s association, but that day has come.  Fehr’s comments make no sense to me. How the hell would Pacific division teams have more travel?  Does not compute.

Posted by Puppies and Hookers from La la land on 01/07/12 at 01:01 AM ET

SYF's avatar

Thanks, Paul.

Wow!  Unbelievable retort and it shows clearly that Fehr has the players’ concerns at heart.

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 01/07/12 at 01:03 AM ET

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Thanks, Paul.

Wow!  Unbelievable retort and it shows clearly that Fehr has the players’ concerns at heart

You wondered if he ever had the players concerns at heart?  Usually the head of the NHLPA has the players concerns at heart and the Commissioner of the NHL has the owners interests at heart. Is this a revelation?

Posted by timbits on 01/07/12 at 01:11 AM ET

SYF's avatar

Heh.  Instead of an East-West conference setup, why not a North-South setup?

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 01/07/12 at 01:14 AM ET

Puppies and Hookers's avatar

Heh.  Instead of an East-West conference setup, why not a North-South setup?

Posted by SYF from “Balls Hill” on 01/06/12 at 10:14 PM ET

Yankee conference against the Confederates…hmmm?

Posted by Puppies and Hookers from La la land on 01/07/12 at 01:23 AM ET

SYF's avatar

Is this a revelation?

Posted by timbits on 01/06/12 at 10:11 PM ET

-Eagleson went to jail on fraud.
-Goodenow had a strike and two lockouts on his watch.
-Saskin was eaves-dropping on players’ emails.
-Kelly was fired because he didn’t have the players’ confidence.

Other than Goodenow, the NHLPA has not had a good record with Executive Directors.  Fehr simply wanted to address concerns with the league’s lawyers and he was not accommodated.

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 01/07/12 at 01:30 AM ET

jimathor's avatar

we requested a draft or sample 2012-13 schedule, showing travel per team.  We were advised it was not possible for the League to do that.

Really? They’re going to get that stubborn about things? Eurgh.

I feel sorry for whoever gets the cup this year, their win will be overshadowed by all of this nonsense.

I know it’s been said before but all this really adds up too is posturing for the CBA negotiations, it’s very simply an ace up the sleeve of the PA to be used as an exchange for something later on.

If you ask me, all it really does is delay realignment by a year, maybe tweaks it a little bit when it does get implemented. 

All i’ve heard from both sides is propaganda, b.s posturing and rhetoric, i’m already bored of it, but I know It’ll carry on for the rest of the damn year.

Posted by jimathor from The land of Sir Humblepatch of Bumblehound on 01/07/12 at 01:33 AM ET

phillyd's avatar

Posted by Puppies and Hookers

My guess is they feared they’d be making many trips east for the 1 home game against the old Easter Conference teams under this format. Remember, even though they may have a tough schedule, they only come east twice a season now, I believe. I don’t think they could do that with the new format as you’d be talking 2 7 game road trips, which the NHL only seems to want to do if there’s a major arena unavailability, like Calgary/WJC this year. Also, I think the unbalanced schedule of either 5 or 6 games against divisional opponents in the 8 team conference concerned them as well.

Posted by phillyd from Southern New Jersey on 01/07/12 at 01:42 AM ET

Paul's avatar

“We weren’t given enough information [from the NHL],’’ said defenseman Mike Weaver, Florida’s union rep.

“How can you make an educated decision without the information? We asked and were upfront with them. We weren’t provided anything. They weren’t open for discussion. The PA is looking out for us. Travel is an important thing. .-.-. I think we’re being fair with them. They don’t want to divulge anything to us.’‘

“Lets just be fair with each other,’’ Weaver said. “We’re all fighting for the same game. Look at baseball; they figured it out. They did it so quiet, you didn’t even hear about it in the media. Hopefully we come to a solution soon.’‘

via George Richards of On Frozen Pond.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 01/07/12 at 01:54 AM ET

SYF's avatar

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 01/06/12 at 10:54 PM ET[/quote

Thanks, Paul.

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 01/07/12 at 02:01 AM ET

Primis's avatar

Fehr is so “concerned” with his players that he’s going to start a nuclear war over freaking REALIGNMENT but… we’ll let players continue to make each other braindead with headshots and elbows, we’ll let them cheapshot each other in the knees and end careers… we’ll ignore them driving each others’ heads into the boards from behind…

But by God, don’t you DARE make them rack up a few extra air miles!  How dare you!

Fehr is apparently the Devil.  He is everything that was feared, and then some.

The PA needs to be destroyed.  Plain and simple.

Posted by Primis on 01/07/12 at 02:02 AM ET

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Good news. I hated the realignment proposal. The four “conferences” idea makes no sense, as is playing teams outside the conferences only as much as twice. And the divisional-type playoff sticks also. Stick with the current setup.

Posted by Pablo on 01/07/12 at 02:37 AM ET

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as is playing teams outside the conferences only as much as twice

It makes more sense now when teams will only play certain other teams once?

Posted by Garth on 01/07/12 at 03:35 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

At least the NHLPA offered a reasoned response explaining their concerns. The NHL just said the equivalent of, “They’re doo-doo heads!” and ran with the PR bump of accusing the other side of scuttling something that, as it turns out, involved a complete lack of reasonable and/or sane willingness to talk about a very radical move by the people who thought it up.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 01/07/12 at 04:03 AM ET

shanetx's avatar

Fehr is so “concerned” with his players that he’s going to start a nuclear war over freaking REALIGNMENT but… we’ll let players continue to make each other braindead with headshots and elbows, we’ll let them cheapshot each other in the knees and end careers… we’ll ignore them driving each others’ heads into the boards from behind…

But by God, don’t you DARE make them rack up a few extra air miles!  How dare you!

Fehr is apparently the Devil.  He is everything that was feared, and then some.

The PA needs to be destroyed.  Plain and simple.

Fehr is their appointed representative, not their parent.  It’s his job to champion the causes they care about not necessarily the ones they should care about (though it would be ideal if he would attempt the latter or even try to do both).  Ignoring the things they want him to fight for and fighting for others that you think are more important would be a good way to get himself fired.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 01/07/12 at 04:51 AM ET

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Fehr is keeping re-alignment in his pocket as a negotiation chip in the next CBA talks.  And why would he do anything differently.  It’s kind of exactly what his job is.  The owners will be trying to claw back $ from the players in the next CBA.  Why would Fehr give this to the owners for nothing?

Posted by Jerry on 01/07/12 at 06:30 AM ET

cainer4wingsglory's avatar

The PA done fuched up now. I knew this Donald Fehr was going to be trouble. I suppose the fans from teams in the East are happy, but everybody else go so suck a dick apparently…

Posted by cainer4wingsglory on 01/07/12 at 12:43 PM ET

phillyd's avatar

Posted by Garth on 01/07/12 at 12:35 AM ET

Yes Garth, because, as a Flyers fan, I could care less if Calgary or Edmonton or Colorado are played twice a season as opposed to once now if it means for them to play the Flyers twice we lose 4 games with the Leafs, Canadiens, Bruins, and Sabres, including 2 visits each to Philly.

Posted by phillyd from Southern New Jersey on 01/07/12 at 01:17 PM ET

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Posted by phillyd from New Jersey on 01/07/12 at 10:17 AM ET

Well, some Philadelphia fan doesn’t care about playing Edmonton, therefore it’s a stupid idea.

Some people have been bemoaning the fact that their team doesn’t play every team at home and on the road every year.  Lots of people, in fact.

Posted by Garth on 01/07/12 at 02:09 PM ET

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[quoteYes Garth, because, as a Flyers fan, I could care less if Calgary or Edmonton or Colorado are played twice a season as opposed to once now if it means for them to play the Flyers twice we lose 4 games with the Leafs]

That makes sense, you want more games against Florida, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Carolina, rather than seeing every team once a season. I always wondered what made Philly fans different, now I know. They are geniuses and it explains why they think Bobby Clarke is a visionary.

Posted by timbits on 01/07/12 at 02:19 PM ET

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What’s the alternative?  Keeping the retarded divisions they have now and shifting Columbus/Detroit East and Winnipeg West while keeping 3 years between some teams visiting some cities?  That and the proposed plan are the only two viable ones, and the PA would oppose either for the sake of opposing them.

Posted by yayamo on 01/07/12 at 03:20 PM ET

mmuskrat's avatar

I’m surprised nobody has commented on the NHLPA’s concern over equal opportunity to make the playoffs.  that was my biggest question with the new realignment.

Posted by mmuskrat on 01/07/12 at 04:42 PM ET

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All part of Gary’s evil plan. “We tried to accomodate you, but if the players don’t sign on, what can we do”

Posted by herschel c. wollmack on 01/07/12 at 06:37 PM ET

phillyd's avatar

No, I don’t think Clarke is a visionary, I’m far from a seeing everything through orange-glasses like other Flyers fans. And yes, mmuskrat, I can’t believe no one mentioned that either. It’s been a pain on the MLB side that they are rectifiying with, get this, 3 divisions of 5 teams apiece in each league! Holy cow, what a concept! Again, I’ve said it from when they first started discussing this, Winnipeg to the Northwest, Minnesota to the Central, and Nashville to the Southeast and we’re done.

Posted by phillyd from Southern New Jersey on 01/07/12 at 08:03 PM ET

phillyd's avatar

So, if I understand you straight Garth, assuming you’re a Red Wings fan, which I thought you were, you’d be willing to give up seeing Vancouver, Anaheim, Colorado and San Jose 2 times a year, 4 games per year, so you get to have one game at the Joe with Carolina, Tampa and Florida? I honestly just don’t get that. I can somewhat get the late game time argument, although I think that’s overblown considering almost all of Detroit’s other professional teams play against competition at least one time zone over on a regular basis. I also get the travel arguments as well, but in the new plan the Florida-based teams would’ve gotten hosed as I think so would’ve that far west conference that spanned from Edmonton to LA.

Posted by phillyd from Southern New Jersey on 01/07/12 at 08:11 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

Posted by Puppies and Hookers from inside Happy’s windowless van. on 01/06/12 at 10:01 PM ET

As was already said, the teams in PST in particular now have to cross time zones more because they will be playing every EST team once on the road. Some quick math from the top of my head (I might be wrong here, so correct me)...

There are 15 teams in the East currently, plus the Wings and Jackets, meaning 17 teams on EST.

Under the current format, teams in the PST have to play one full East division on the road, meaning 5 road games on EST. Plus, they will play two games each against the Wings and Jackets on the road since those teams are in the West. That gives us a total of 9 road games on EST.

Under the new format, PST teams will have to play 17 games in EST since there are 17 teams in EST. That almost doubles the amount of time they have to spend in EST, which for all intents and purposes means they will have to add at least a couple of lengthy trips to the schedule.

Posted by Primis on 01/06/12 at 11:02 PM ET

Sigh. You do realize this post sounds like EvilPens, just with a better grasp on the English language? I have nothing more to add than what shanetx said, as he is dead right.

Actually, I do agree with you that I wish the leadership in the PA would take a stand “against” their own membership when it comes to concussions, fighting, and health-related stuff. I think players are starting to think more progressively about these things, but clearly there is still an old-school tough-guy mentality, and the union leadership probably needs to step up and help the league fix some of these problems.

Posted by mmuskrat on 01/07/12 at 01:42 PM ET

Because there is no response to that point from the league’s side (or the fans that take the league’s side). It is very clearly unbalanced and currently unfair. It’s also pretty clear they are unbalanced because the league ultimately expects to add two teams and move a couple others to get the four 8 team conferences that would even it out. But that issue is a bad talking point for the league because it can only lead to discussion about expansion/relocation and the money the league stands to make from it, while the players get very little from it other than a few dozen guys being uprooted from their current clubs to fill two new rosters…

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 01/09/12 at 12:53 PM ET

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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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