It appears the NHL’s realignment that looked so promising from a Wild perspective has been put on hold. After the National Hockey League’s Player Association voted to deny the plan, the NHL released a statement with the following quotes from 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,” said NHL Deputy Commissioner
Bill Daly. “We have now spent the better part of four weeks attempting to
satisfy the NHLPA’s purported concerns with the Plan with no success.
Because we have already been forced to delay, and as a result are already
late in beginning the process of preparing next season’s schedule, we have
no choice but to abandon our intention to implement the Realignment Plan
and modified Playoff Format for next season.”
“We believe the Union acted unreasonably in violation of the League’s
rights. We intend to evaluate all of our available legal options and to
pursue adequate remedies, as appropriate.”
As a result, the NHL will use the same schedule and playoff format it has used next season.
The Plan was warmly received by Minnesota fans due to the number of teams within the conference that play in the same time zone, and the more natural rivalries it would have created with teams like Winnipeg, Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis and Dallas.