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Saturday, January 7, 2012
Adam Burish discusses NHLPA decision on realignment

By Mark Stepneski

DALLAS – As a member of the Dallas Stars, the NHL’s realignment plan was a good deal for right wing Adam Burish. As the team’s player rep and a member of the NHLPA’s Executive Board, Burish has to take a big picture view.

“For the Stars it would have been great. Our division games, none are in the same time zone. That’s tough for us. The realignment would have been good for us,” Burish said. “Would it have been good for the Philadelphia Flyers or St. Louis Blues? Probably not as much as us. We are probably one of the teams, probably one of the few teams that it would have made a big difference on.

“The tough thing as a union, it’s not just the Dallas Stars or one group or another, it’s the whole union. … It’s tough for us as the Dallas Stars, but you just can’t look at it as our team.”

After Dallas’ 4-1 victory over Edmonton Saturday, Burish talked about the NHLPA’s decision to not provide consent to the NHL’s realignment plan that would have created a four-conference league in which the Stars would have moved to a more travel and time zone friendly conference with Chicago, Columbus, Detroit, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis and Winnipeg.

The NHLPA’s decision means realignment won’t happen next season, as the league had hoped. That means the Stars will stay in the Pacific Division and won’t get the travel relief realignment would have brought.

“When it came back and that was the ruling, obviously some of our guys were upset about it because it would have been a lot easier for us,” Burish said. “But say tomorrow you are playing in Columbus or the East Coast. Those guys are in their beds every night and that’s pretty nice. As a guy on the Executive Board you’ve got to look at it as a whole. There were a few things that needed to get fixed and didn’t. That’s why it ultimately came down to not working out.”

One of the key issues for the NHLPA was how teams qualified for the playoffs. In two of the conferences four of seven teams make the playoffs, while in the other two conferences four of eight teams make it.

“That’s probably half of it. That was a big part of it,” Burish said. “Those Eastern teams, they had only seven in their group and the Western teams had eight. That’s a big deal. Four out of seven is a big difference than four out of eight. Imagine in the West as it is now if nine teams got to go instead of eight. That’s a big deal. That was a big point of discussion. Ultimately, it was one of the big factors of why it didn’t work.”

Burish said he had no problem with the league setting a hard deadline for the NHLPA to make a decision on realignment, which likely have to wait until the 2013-14 season.

“The NHL said they needed a deadline, which is fair. They do,” Burish said. “The schedule has to get out. I don’t know how they do it, but it seems like it would take ten years to figure out where to put everyone. They need time and I understand that, too. At the end of the day it’s going to have to wait, I guess, another year.”