Saturday, January 7, 2012

Realignment, We Hardly Knew Ye

There hasn't been much good news for Blue Jackets fans during this sad season. One exception was realignment. Although the plans announced by the NHL were not exactly what the Blue Jackets wanted from a competitive standpoint, they did address to a large extent their biggest beef, going out west. The plan was a win for fans, giving them more games in their native time zone and the opportunity to see each team in the league play at Nationwide.

You can forget about it now. It isn't going to happen. The fans lose again. What's that? Please pass the salt? Sure, Aaron Portzline reported in the print version of the Saturday edition of the Columbus Dispatch that the Blue Jackets player rep, Mark Methot, voted against the realignment plan. (Strangely, that fact has been edited  out of the online version of the story.) If true, Blue Jackets fans can only assume that Methot's loyalties to the union and his teammates (he's supposed to be spaeaking for them as a whole) have a higher priority than his loyalties to the Blue Jackets organization and its fans. Stew on that for awhile. I guess we won't be hearing the old "time change" excuse on this road trip.

It looks like Blue Jackets fans, who know too well the sting of losing, have suffered yet another soul-crushing defeat. But the failure of the league to realign, as hurtful as that may be to fans, might not hurt as much as what's looming at the end of the season.

Mark Spector of Sportsnet.ca breaks it down best:
This, folks, sounds very much like a lockout coming down the tacks.
The National Hockey League knew its Players' Association wanted to have a guiding hand in realignment -- or at least be seen to have had one, for posterity's sake. But NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman dismissively announced realignment as a done deal, despite the fact the NHLPA had not signed off on -- or barely taken part in shaping -- the process.
Now the players's union under the guise of fairness, is really just strapping on the war gear. Of course, the NHLPA has the best interest of (harrumph) the game at heart.
The NHLPA says it's acting in fairness to its players, while sentencing the Winnipeg Jets to another year of heinous travel, and denying the Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars and Detroit Red Wings the scheduling solution that would make the lives of those players a lot easier than it is under the current system.
Yes, hockey fans. You're reading this correctly. Both sides are full of crap.
Welcome to another league vs. union battle, where the true loser is, as always, you the hockey fan.


2 comments:

  1. Great. Another lockout and hockey is permanently a niche sport.

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  2. The union's action were not the opening shot, the league's dismissal of any union involvement in the process wast. The league's response (from Daley, that the union had never been involved in such matters before, so they didn't think they needed to be, now), clearly indicates either a total distain for player concerns or, worse, complete ignorance of the type of leadership they were now facing in Donald Fehr. As for the Methot quotes, there has since been a report that the only team reps to vote for the realignment were from Columbus and Detroit. He may have expressed his support for what the plan meant for the team and city, yet still felt obligated to support the majority union position.

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