NHL realignment: Could NHLPA block league's latest plan?

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL is awaiting a response from the NHLPA on the latest realignment proposal.

NHL realignment has been a hot topic the past two seasons and it appeared as if the league had finally found a plan to move forward with. Now it seems as if the NHLPA could once again potentially block the NHL's plan, as the league anxiously waits on the union's response.

The NHLPA turned down the NHL's realignment proposal last season, upset that such a plan was formulated without input from the union and noting the plan raised more questions than it answered. The NHL's latest plan was even more aggressive yet also addressed more issues; Detroit and Columbus would move east, while the playoff format would be significantly changed to allow for the new alignment of two divisions in each of two uneven conferences.

The CBC's Elliotte Friedman notes that the NHLPA is working on a response and having to go through team representives nearly one or two at a time, with players from the East unhappy with the new playoff structuring.

The NHL has apparently dug in on moving Detroit and Columbus to the East, which has led to uneven distribution of teams in each conference -- something the players are not happy about. It's like the lockout all over again.

The NHL had stated it needed a response from the union on realignment last weekend and that a decision is needed as soon as possible, given that the NHL typically works on the upcoming season's schedule in March. Now the NHLPA appears to be stalling, or at least doing some very fine due diligence on the proposal and with each passing day it appears less likely the union will be entirely enthusiastic with this latest proposal.

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