Realignment delay: Heard around the league

January, 6, 2012
1/06/12
11:16
PM ET
NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr:
"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.

"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." (Read full statement here)

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly:
"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." (Read full statement here)

Dallas Stars president Jim Lites:
"Really disappointed. It's depressing. I know fans overwhelmingly want this. We fought for this for years, and now to have it there and delayed for reasons that don't make any sense to me, I don't get it."

Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal:
"Obviously, there's been some conflict as far as the decision-making goes, so eventually, probably going to have to find a common ground, to find some way to make it work. The way it is now, I don't mind.

"I think for us, for our team, going into a division against Washington, New York, Pittsburgh, Philly, whatever. The division we were in, it would have been tough. But I think it's such a close league -- anybody you play against is tough. But for me, it's not going to be that much of a difference. Obviously, a couple trips to Winnipeg -- that's close to home for me, so I don't mind."

New Jersey Devils captain Zach Parise:
"I was surprised to hear that it didn't go through. I didn't like the change in the playoff format, so it's not bad for us. But I know some teams are going to be upset with the travel. I personally like it the way it is and didn't want any changes."

Florida player representative Mike Weaver:
"We were prepared for the realignment from the NHL, but we weren't given every bit of information regarding it. How can you make an educated decision without all the proper information? We asked for the reasoning and that reasoning was not produced. They were not open to discussions about it.

"As far as travel goes, it's a big important issue. I don't know why the NHL wouldn't make it easier for everyone. More travel means being away from families more. It is going to make it tougher. It's already tough now. I just wish they were fair with us. They didn't want to give us any information about it. We're going to have longer road trips, like 10 days on the road. It's tough enough now and they didn't make it any easier."

Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune in an email:
"To say I am disappointed in the actions of the NHLPA to deny consent to implement realignment for next season is an understatement. Our fans were universally excited to be playing against Midwestern teams in the previous old Norris Division.

"I'm disappointed for our fans, our employees and our players. It appears everyone wanted this to happen except the leaders of the players' union. I pledge to Wild fans to continue to pursue this realignment plan as aggressively as possible."

Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland told the Detroit Free Press:
"We'd be disappointed if it’s on hold for a year. This is the first I've heard of it, but we'd be disappointed. We voted for realignment."

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