Despite the fact that the NHL’s realignment plan was shot down by the Players’ Association last Friday, union executive director Donald Fehr said he has no ill will about the situation and hopes the NHL feels the same way.
Appearing on Prime Time Sports on Sportsnet 590 The FAN Monday, Fehr said that the NHLPA turned down the league’s proposal because of a lack of information on a few realignment issues and concern over the proposed playoff format.
“After some initial information transfers, it became clear that there would be increased travel but it was unclear as to how much and which clubs and we asked for some sample schedules and (the NHL) said those could not be provided,” Fehr told PTS.
Fehr also said the players felt pretty strongly that two of the proposed divisions had a permanent advantage over the other two in terms of making the playoffs.
“You had to beat three teams in two divisions and four teams in the other two divisions,” Fehr said. “The players wanted to talk to (the NHL) about the playoff issue. We didn’t intend to pre-judge what the results of those conversations would be.
“The commissioner’s office said they were not in the position to have those discussions and I fully respect that, they’re certainly entitled to take that view,” Fehr added
The plan was to have two conferences with seven teams all based in the Eastern time zone; New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Washington and Carolina in one and Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Buffalo, Florida and Tampa Bay in the other.
The third conference consisted of eight teams in the Eastern and Central time zones; Detroit, Columbus, Nashville, St. Louis, Chicago, Minnesota, Dallas and Winnipeg.
The fourth and final conference had eight teams in the Mountain and Pacific time zones; Los Angeles, Anaheim, Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Colorado.
–With files from The Associated Press