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Why the NHLPA's Rejection of the NHL's Realignment Plan Is Great for Hockey

VANCOUVER, BC - JUNE 01:  NHL commissioner Gary Bettman speaks to the media prior to game one between the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins in the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Finals at Rogers Arena on June 1, 2011 in Vancouver, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Rich Lam/Getty Images
Joel ProsserCorrespondent IJanuary 7, 2012

The news broke on Friday that the NHLPA had voted down the NHL's proposed realignment scheme. 

This is a great thing. 

Now there were some good things about the realignment plan, such as reduced travel and less out-of-time-zone games, but overall it sucked. 

Why? 

Because it was clearly unfair to 16 of the 30 teams. 

The NHL's scheme would have seen the league divided into four divisions, two with seven teams, and two with eight teams. Only the top four teams out of each division would make the playoffs. 

According to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun, the NHLPA consulted with the players, and the playoff format was a major concern.  

Hockey players might get a bad rap for being uneducated, but it doesn't take a genius to realize that the odds were in favour of the smaller, seven-team divisions. 

Teams in the seven-team divisions would have a 57 percent chance of making the playoffs each year. 

Teams in the eight-team divisions would have a 50 percent chance of making the playoffs each year. 

Now this potential imbalance could have been addressed through some sort of wild-card format, but the NHL rejected that concept. 

Hopefully the NHL goes back to the drawing board and comes up with a realignment plan that actually works and doesn't put over half the teams at a competitive disadvantage.

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