Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning player rep Dominic Moore: There are solutions to realignment impasse

MONTREAL — The NHL's plan for dramatic realignment will not be implemented next season because the players association opposed the changes.

But Lightning C Dominic Moore, the team's union representative, believes the issue will eventually be resolved. The sides need to work through the players' concerns about travel and the playoff format, he said.

The plan the union rejected by a Friday league deadline would have had the league go from six divisions to four conferences, two with eight teams and two with seven, with four from each making the playoffs. Tampa Bay would have been in a conference with Florida, Toronto, Montreal, Buffalo, Boston and Ottawa.

"For Tampa and Florida, it'd be tough to convince those teams that their travel is going to be much easier," Moore said.

Moore knew the league had discussed more efficient road trips, but he said the players wanted to see the data, such as mock schedules, before agreeing to the plan the Board of Governors had approved.

"I think there's solutions out there. It's not going to be a big problem," Moore said. "It's just a matter of … going through these issues and analyzing some of the information that we can come up with."

STEPPING IN: Pierre-Cedric Labrie said he was so excited to get recalled from AHL Norfolk on Friday, "my body got nervous and shaked for 10-15 minutes. … I couldn't believe it."

Labrie, a 6-foot-2, 218-pound checking forward, made his NHL debut Saturday against the Canadiens and played 3:41. Labrie, 25, brings much-needed size and physicality, coach Guy Boucher said.

"He's a huge boy that hits extremely hard. He can drop the gloves, too," Boucher said. "He's a pretty smart player and (does) the simple things, and driving the net. I think he's going to bring something we have very little of."

Labrie said his parents and about 10 friends made the eight-hour drive from his hometown, Baie-Comeau, Quebec, to watch him play. His first call Friday was to his dad, who had to adjust his schedule.

"I was like, 'Are you going to be busy tomorrow?' " Labrie said. "He said, 'Yeah I'm really busy tomorrow.' I said, 'You better get some time off, because I'm going to play in Montreal.' He's like, 'No way!' "

DOUBLE TAKE: D Brendan Mikkelson, acquired by the Lightning for C Blair Jones, said he thought he was getting called up to play for the Flames when he got a phone call from a Calgary executive Friday. Mikkelson, with AHL Abbotsford, was heading to the morning skate. "I was surprised," he said. "(The executive) said, 'I think this could be a good move for you in the long run.' I'm like, 'Wait a minute. I've been recalled a lot of times. That doesn't sound like a recall.' "

MISCELLANY: RW Ryan Malone, who missed two games with a lower-body injury, returned. Wings Adam Hall and J.T. Wyman (both upper body) were scratched.

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