OTTAWA | It’s not what Washington Capitals fans want to hear, but it sure looks like realignment is dead and won’t happen for the 2012-13 NHL season.
That was certainly the thought in early January when the NHLPA disapproved of the league’s radical four-conference realignment that featured the Caps in the old Patrick Division plus the Carolina Hurricanes. But the subject was not even broached at the Board of Governors meeting Saturday at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, and all parties seem prepared to move ahead with the current system for now.
“There’s nothing to talk about on that situation whatsoever,” Winnipeg Jets chairman Mark Chipman said. “We’re going to play in the Southeast next year. The alignment we have is what you’re going to see next year.”
That’s another year of Southeast Division hockey with the Caps, Jets, Hurricanes, Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning. Many around the Caps were thrilled with realignment because it would have meant more games against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, and New York Rangers.
Commissioner Gary Bettman in his annual state of the NHL address made it clear that the league had moved on after the players association did not provide consent for realignment.
NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr pointed out that players suggested a one-for-one swap that would move the Jets into the Western Conference and another team (likely the Columbus Blue Jackets or Detroit Red Wings) into the Eastern Conference and Southeast Division for one year. The league did not choose to approve that plan.