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Gameday Thread: Capitals @ Sharks

Next Game

Washington Capitals
@ San Jose Sharks

Saturday, Jan 7, 2012, 7:30 PM PST
HP Pavilion

Sharks Gameday: Hot and Hotterer

Complete Coverage >

The biggest news this weekend was the NHLPA's decision to reject realignment for next season, a measure the NHL Board of Governors voted on and approved at their meetings in Pebble Beach in early December. As a fan of realignment this is an unfortunate turn of events, but count me among those who feel as if the measure will be used as a bargaining chip for the NHLPA this summer when CBA negotiations are re-opened.

NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr, who led the MLBPA through the baseball strike in 1994-1995, is a shrewd and tough negotiator who is extremely familiar with labor disputes and how to leverage issues for his clients. To me, this seems like a case of bargaining power-- the NHLPA's release and reasoning for rejecting the proposed realignment plan contains points that are undoubtedly relevant to the players, but at its core I believe it to be a bargaining chip the NHLPA is attempting to utilize when the two sides sit down to discuss renewal of the CBA.

No matter what the case may be however, it adds even more intrigue to what was already expected to be a fierce negotiation process this summer. And for now, realignment looks to be on the shelf for at least one more year.

As for the Sharks-Capitals game set to be played later tonight, Antti Niemi and Tomas Vokoun will be in net for their respective teams. According to David Pollak, here's how the Sharks lines will probably start out:

Joe Pavelski - Joe Thornton - Benn Ferriero

Ryane Clowe - Logan Couture - Patrick Marleau

Jamie McGinn - Michal Handzus - Torrey Mitchell

Brad Winchester - Andrew Desjardins - Tommy Wingels

>> David Pollak via Twitter

Some more news and notes to tide you over before puck drop:

Puck drops at 7:37 PM.