Players OK NHL plan that puts Penguins in 8-team division next season

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PHILADELPHIA -- The NHL Players' Association has approved the league's realignment plan, which means the Penguins will shift to an eight-team division next season.

They will be with Philadelphia, the New York Rangers, the New York Islanders, New Jersey, Columbus, Carolina and Washington in one of two Eastern Conference divisions.

There will be 16 teams in the Eastern Conference, 14 in the West. Eight teams from each will qualify for the playoffs, with some of those being wild cards.

The plan still must be approved by the NHL Board of Governors, but that is expected to be little more than a rubber-stamp vote.

NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr said the realignment plan will be re-evaluated after the 2014-15 season.

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