And here we thought everything was neatly tied up. With one (publicly) overwhelming vote in Pebble Beach, the Board of Governors found a realignment solution that accomplished almost everything. It helped prop up struggling franchises like the Columbus Blue Jackets and Dallas Stars by getting more games in their time zone while bringing in more attractive opponents throughout the season. It delivered on promises made to Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch. It provided plenty of flexibility should the Phoenix Coyotes move next season. It even got the Winnipeg Jets into a conference where its division rival wasn't a team near a beach in South Florida.
There was just one tiny oversight. It didn't have the blessing of the players. Or as one agent wrote in a text this morning: "NHL froze PA out, tried to jam it down their throats."
When things are going well between the league and the NHLPA you hear a lot about the partnership between the NHL and its most important assets. As one player pointed out to me last night, there was no partnership in realignment. This was a league-driven initiative and that's part of the reason why it didn't get the green light. So now, the inability of the two sides to reach a suitable conclusion unravels things that were neatly tied up. And it does so on a multitude of fronts, affecting this wide range of groups:
To gain full access to Craig Custance's blog, become an Insider today.