Realignment leading to NHL work stoppage?

I’m probably being an alarmist, but the little spat between the NHL and the players over the realignment creates more fear of another asinine work stoppage.

The collective bargaining agreement, which came out of the ashes from the lost 2004-05 season, expires after this season, and every shot across the bow — even those from a pop-gun — makes you cringe.

On the other, you haveth eplayers complaining it wasn’t consulted enough during the process.

Feel free to roll your eyes at the thought of where this could go. Any posturing from either side at this point is childish.

League commissioner Gary Bettman knew the proposal which was approved by the board of governors would involve more travel for teams. It was a price to pay for putting a system in place where every team faced each other at least once at home and once on the road every season. (About time, fans deserve that much.)

Why not bring it to NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr for his thoughts?

In turn, Fehr — whose reputation for confrontation during his time leading the baseball players has hockey fans feeling both fearful of a work stoppage and disgusted at the thought of it — knew the league was working on a new plan.

What’s to stop him from picking up the phone and becoming involved? Maybe throw in an idea or two.

It’s hard to believe the NHL and its players are foolish enough to delay or even flush another season down the tube, but incidents such as this sure make you believe both sides only think of their interests, not the other parties and the most important one — the fans who foot all the bills.

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