NHL players' association votes down proposal

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The NHL said Friday that it won’t go forward with its realignment plan and modified playoff format next season after the players’ association refused to agree to the changes.

The changes were approved in December by the NHL’s board of governors, with the league planning to switch from two three-division conferences to six divisions.

The league said it will maintain its current alignment and playoff format next season.

“It is unfortunate that the NHLPA has unreasonably refused to approve a plan that an overwhelming majority of our clubs voted to support, and that has received such widespread support from our fans and other members of the hockey community, including players,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said.

“We have now spent the better part of four weeks attempting to satisfy the NHLPA’s purported concerns with the plan with no success,” he said.

“Because we have already been forced to delay and, as a result, are already late in beginning the process of preparing next season’s schedule, we have no choice but to abandon our intention to implement the realignment plan and modified playoff format for next season.

“We believe the union acted unreasonably in violation of the league’s rights. We intend to evaluate all of our available legal options and to pursue adequate remedies, as appropriate.”

RANGERS 3, PENGUINS 1

In Pittsburgh, Brandon Dubinsky had a goal and an assist, Henrik Lundqvist made 37 saves and New York beat slumping Pittsburgh.

DEVILS 5, PANTHERS 2

In Newark, N.J., Ilya Kovalchuk had two third-period goals to lead New Jersey to a victory over Florida.

The Devils snapped a two-game losing streak while the Panthers have lost two in a row.

HURRICANES 4, SABRES 2

In Raleigh, N.C., Eric Staal had a goal and two assists to lead Carolina past Buffalo.

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