On Friday night, the NHLPA voted down the league's plan for realignment, which had been approved by the NHL's Board of Governors a month ago. It was unclear why the PA voted against realignment plans, with speculation ranging from travel concerns to playoff structure to the unbalanced number of teams between conferences.
The realignment plan was approved a month ago by the teams, who have been working with the NHLPA since then to try and assuage some of their concerns over the past four weeks. The NHLPA did consult all the player reps so there was an awareness of this potential outcome among the players, but's it's still unclear just how prevalent the disapproval of the realignment structure was - presumably it's not unanimous.
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The league had set a deadline for approval which has now passed. Negotiations over the next week or two are still a possibility but the league must start planning and scheduling for the future - one that may include the current structure with the Winnipeg Jets in the Southeast Division with the Capitals.
The NHL's options are limited now. The league may consider filing a grievance but it's still early to see what the next move is, with hopefully more bargaining imminent. It's too soon to say this tension is a precursor to a CBA impasse later this year, but it certainly does have fans worried on this Friday night.