Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 1/7/12
CALGARY -- The NHL announced Friday that it won't go ahead with planned realignment for the 2012-13 season because the players association won't agree to the new format.The change to a four-conference setup was approved in a 26-4 vote last month by the NHL's board of governors. Under the plan, the top four teams in each conference would make the playoffs and the first two rounds of the postseason would be played within the conference.The league said it will stick to its current format six divisions, with the top eight teams in the Eastern and Western conferences making the playoffs for next season. The new alignment would have put the Wild in a conference with Detroit, Columbus, Nashville, St. Louis, Chicago, Dallas and Winnipeg and significantly cut down on the teams number of miles traveled to far-flung locales such as San Jose, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Anaheim."We were all very excited about the changes, and now I think it is pretty disappointing, coach Mike Yeo said. We will have to see what happens down the road."NHLPA executive director Don Fehr said in a statement that the players association was unable to give its consent because its concerns weren't adequately addressed before the league's imposed deadline of Jan. 6."We continue to be ready and willing to have further discussions should the league be willing to do so," Fehr said.The league and NHLPA will being negotiating a collective-bargaining agreement around the All-Star break later this month. The current agreement runs out Sept. 15.Wild forward Matt Cullen has been in the NHL for 14 years, and he has spent time in both the Eastern and Western conferences. Hes been down the negotiation path before and knows all about the rigors of travel. "I think a lot of us players like the idea of realignment, but we understand there is a process to it, Cullen said. I don't think we have enough information at this point, and the deadline was most likely set a bit too soon."Like Cullen, Wild forward Darroll Powe has experience in the Eastern Conference. "There are still plenty of issues that need to be worked out in terms of this realignment, he said. Travel will always be the main focal point, and there is no way they will ever be able to make everyone happy, but in time I think it will get figured out."For Wild fans, this means for now -- numerous road trips to Chicago, Winnipeg, Detroit and St. Louis will remain on hold. The old-school rivalry games from the days of the North Stars are not here yet.
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