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.