The NHL called off plans Friday to realign and adopt a 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 four seven- or eight-team conferences.

“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.

‘A source told’s Pierre LeBrun a possible next step for the NHL could be to bring a grievance against the NHLPA, if the league feels the players’ association unreasonably withheld its consent. If the league wins that grievance, it could unilaterally implement realignment for the 2013-14 season’.

This issue is far from over. Expect a lot of back and forth between the NHL and NHLPA before there is any resolution.

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