On-ice news first: The Sabres did not skate this morning after their late-night arrival from Raleigh. Ville Leino will be back in the lineup tonight, and both Leino and Brad Boyes will need to spend some time at center with the injury to Derek Roy.
Coach Lindy Ruff had said Thursday that Leino was being overly optimistic about playing tonight against Winnipeg but the Sabres need Leino now.
"Some of it is necessity, some of it is that if you ask Ville, he says he's ready," Ruff said.
As for Roy, the center was hurt on a faceoff last night in Carolina and is believed to have suffered some sort of arm/shoulder injury.
"Right now initially, they don't feel it's too bad," Ruff said. "But it's going to be more than days."
The big news of the day, however, was the league's announcement Friday night that realignment and the new scheduling matrix are out for next year because the NHLPA has declined to consent to the changes. Players association representatives Paul Gaustad of Buffalo and Ron Hainsey of Winnipeg both met the media today to explain their side of the situation.
The biggest sticking points are the league's lack of information on travel and a playoff format that has some teams in eight-team conferences and others in seven-team groupings. The top four in each would make the postseason, making it tougher for 16 teams to get in.
"It has to be fair for everybody," Gaustad said. "Teams play an an entire season for a shot at the playoffs and for one conference to be harder to make the playoffs than the others didn't sit well with the players."
"There were a few things suggested and we were refuted in the attempt to sit down and meet about it or even tinker with it," Hainsey said. "If you're in an eight-team conference for your entire career, you're at a 7 percent disadvantage [of making the playoffs] for your entire career."
The Jets will apparently stay in the Southeast Division again next year, which means plenty of long road trips East. But they're OK with that based on what they didn't know about the new plan.
"The travel, from what limited stuff we got, could possibly be worse for some Western teams including Winnipeg," noted Hainsey. "Without knowing what that looked like, it's hard to consent or not consent when the potential is there for worse travel."
While the league clearly indicated the players blocked the proposals by not giving consent, the players said they were willing to continue discussion. The league is citing advance time needed to draw up a schedule as the reason to maintain the status quo in 2012-13.
"We didn't block it. That's incorrect," Hainsey said. "We asked to continue to meet to address concerns. That's not blocking."
"The best way is to solve it is just discussion between the PA and NHL owners and just find the best scenario for everybody," Gaustad said. "We didn't see a lot of data. They didn't give us a lot of stuff supporting why they did certain things and that was another issue."
Click below to hear Gaustad and Hainsey's sessions.