Saturday, January 7, 2012

When Unions Get In The Way

The Winnipeg Jets, first, foremost, and most importantly, should be unhappy with the newest NHL divisional realignment being rejected by the NHLPA.

Not only are the Jets still temporarily stuck in the NHL's Southeast Division until the end of the 2012-13 season, but there if there is no give by the player's union this time around for a realignment, just exactly when will the Jets be in a division that best suits their travel needs?

Only would something like this happen when unions get in the way.

According to the Winnipeg Free Press the Jets would have played 13 to 15 more games in it's own time zone against teams that are closer and make more sense for geographical rivalries and divisional match-ups.

Compare that to only three road games this season where the Jets play in the Central time zone (Winnipeg Free Press, 01/07/2012)

Donald Fehr told the Canadian Press that "Players' questions about travel and concerns about the playoff format have not been sufficiently addressed. As such, we are not able to provide our consent to the proposal at this time." (, 01/07/2012)

Fehr's reasons for the rejection of the proposed new divisional realignment may be true for other teams, but for the Jets there is no sense to his rationale for turning down the suggested realignment - most importantly travel.

Not only was the deal strongly backed by the majority of NHL teams and fans, but it was created to have more rivalries and geographical match-ups.

The new divisions would make the NHL stronger across the board.

More importantly, discussions began when the Jets moved to Winnipeg from Atlanta. Only because of the move is there the need to talk about realignment.

Not only is the Jets absurd present divisional alignment the big topic but other teams have re-raised concerns - including Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets.

Now that an opportunity to make the divisions more unique and more sensible has arisen, the NHLPA has had its chance to let the NHL know that they won't be bossed around. The flat out rejection of the new divisions seems to only be a self-serving decision by the union to make a statement - albeit unreasonable.

According to (01/07/2012), the new realignment would go as follows:

Conference 1: New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Washington and Carolina

Conference 2: Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Buffalo, Florida and Tampa Bay in the other.

Conference 3: Detroit, Columbus, Nashville, St. Louis, Chicago, Minnesota, Dallas and Winnipeg.

Conference 4: Los Angeles, Anaheim, Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Colorado.

Though to the NHLPA's credit, the proposed playoff format needed more tweaking and must have been the tipping point for the union to flat out reject the NHL's offer.

However, the rejection of the realignment only creates tension for the upcoming labour talks as the current CBA runs out after this season - on September 15th.

Winnipeg Jets governor and chairman Mark Chipman stated in his morning media conference that he had a feeling the proposal would be the way the league would go in the future.

Despite the situation the Jets still find themselves in (playing in the Southeast Division), Chipman addressed that the Jets would be willing to go with the status quo for another year, knowing that there is a possible solution in the future.

In talking with the media (and being the only chairman allowed to talk about the matter) Chipman didn't only sound knowledgeable and understanding about the proposal being rejected, but was very gracious in his words regarding staying in the Southeast for another season until another solution can be found in the future.

Only time will tell if the Jets needs are looked after properly.

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