Donald Fehr: Sidney Crosby

NHLPA approves realignment


NHL players are officially on board with the league’s plan for realignment.

“After discussions with the Executive Board, the NHLPA has given consent to realignment, to be re-evaluated following the 2014-15 season,” said the union’s executive director, Don Fehr, in a statement released Thursday evening.

In December of 2011, the NHL announced a “radical” realignment plan that split the league into four “conferences” as opposed to its current structure of two conferences with three divisions in each.

However, the NHLPA eventually scuttled the plan, citing concerns over travel as well as the fairness of the proposed playoff qualification system.

The league’s last reported proposal was back to two conferences — Western and Eastern — with four divisions.

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division

New Jersey
New York Islanders
New York Rangers

Central Division

Tampa Bay

Western Conference

Mid-West Division

St. Louis

Pacific Division

Los Angeles
San Jose

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly released the following statement following the union’s announcement:

“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.”

Related: NHL will address how expansion/relocation impacts realignment if it happens

Steve Yzerman isn’t a fan of realignment proposal for Tampa Bay

Steve Yzerman, Vincent Lecavalier

When it comes to the latest realignment proposal by the NHL, we already know Ilya Kovalchuk isn’t much of a fan, but you can add the Tampa Bay Lightning to that list as well.

General manager Steve Yzerman tells Erik Erlendsson of The Tampa Tribune that he doesn’t like the hassle the latest solution puts his team through when it comes to travel and competition.

“And logistically if it gets done the way it appears to be proposed certainly having four original six teams in our division is something I think our fanbase would appreciate . . . but again the traveling crossing the border and flying above Carolina and Washington to play teams in our own division those are things that we don’t like about it for our organization.”

In case you forgot, Tampa Bay and Florida would be the outliers in a new division with Detroit, Toronto, Ottawa, Buffalo, Montreal, and Boston. Having to deal with customs and border crossings is a pain, but a kind of necessary one in the hockey world.

If I were Tampa Bay, or more accurately Florida, I’d be more worried about visiting fans trying to take over my home arena each time. There’s no shortage of fans of those teams on the road.

PHT Morning Skate: Where we look at realignment, Olympics, Leafs

NHL realignment

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Rather than move Detroit or Columbus from the East to West to fix the Conference size imbalance, would it be better to make the conferences geographically neutral like the MLB or NFL? (Rotoworld)

Don Cherry criticized Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf for declining to fight Montreal Canadiens forward Brandon Prust during the Leafs’ 5-2 loss on Wednesday. “I knew they were going to lose when he didn’t answer the bell,” Cherry said. (Sportsnet)

Anaheim Ducks forward Kyle Palmieri looks back on Wednesday’s hat trick. At 22-years-old, he became the second-youngest Ducks player to ever accomplish that feat. (

37-year-old defenseman Francis Bouillon was afraid that the lockout would end his playing career. Now that the work stoppage is behind us, the Montreal Canadiens’ blueliner is reaching some meaningful milestones. (Montreal Gazette)

Forward Aaron Volpatti is looking forward to bringing his physical game to the Washington Capitals. (Washington Times)

Former head coach Ron Wilson figured the Maple Leafs firing him a year ago “was kind of inevitable,” according to his friend and current Capitals assistant coach Tim Hunter. He thinks Wilson, 57, would also take another coaching position if the opportunity presented itself. Wilson had a 648-561-101-91 record with Anaheim, Washington, San Jose, and Toronto. (Toronto Star)

New Jersey Devils forward Ryan Carter confirmed that he sustained a concussion on Feb. 18. On the plus side, he thinks he might be able to return Saturday. (New Jersey Online)

On the anniversary of Sidney Crosby’s golden goal, Steve Yzerman reflects on Canada winning gold at the 2010 Winter Olympics. (

Top New York Rangers prospect Chris Kreider is back in the minors. (New York Newsday)