The NHL on Friday canceled all games through Nov. 30, a move that all but guarantees there will be no 82-game season in 2012-13 because of the lockout.
Thirteen more Washington Capitals games got the ax in the latest cancellation, bringing the total to 23. A grand total of 326 NHL games have been canceled, or about 26.5 percent of the season.
“The National Hockey League deeply regrets having to take this action,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement. By presenting a proposal to the NHLPA that contemplated a fair division of revenues and was responsive to Player concerns regarding the value of their contracts, we had hoped to be able to forge a long-term
Collective Bargaining Agreement that would have preserved an 82-game Regular Season for our fans. Unfortunately, that did not occur.
“We acknowledge and accept that there is joint responsibility in collective bargaining and, though we are profoundly disappointed that a new agreement has not been attained to this point, we remain committed to achieving an agreement that is fair for the Players and the Clubs - one that will be good for the game and our fans.”
If owners and the NHL Players’ Association are able to get a deal done to salvage a season, the schedule would now have to be re-drawn, possibly for 66 or 72 games.
Friday’s move made official what has been expected for a few days now, since the league said it had no reason to meet with the players given their stance on last week’s offer. The NHLPA made three proposals last week that the owners rejected in about 15 minutes.
“The union has chosen not to engage on our proposal or to make a new proposal of their own,” commissioner Gary Bettman said earlier this week. “So unfortunately it looks like the 82-game season is not going to be a reality, although the clock has a little bit of time to run.”
The clock has run out, and even with some speculating that a full season is still feasible, it no longer seems reasonable to expect barring a miracle agreement soon.
“The league officially informed us today that they have withdrawn their latest proposal and have cancelled another slate of regular season games,” NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr said in a statement. “This is deeply disappointing for all hockey fans and everyone who makes their living from hockey, including the players. But it comes as no surprise.
“Last week the owners gave us what amounts to a “take-it-or-leave-it” proposal. We responded with the framework for three proposals on the players’ share, each of which moved significantly, towards their stated desire for a 50-50 split of HRR, with the only condition being that they honour contracts they have already signed. Honouring contracts signed between owners and players is a reasonable request. Unfortunately, after considering them for only 10 minutes they rejected all of our proposals.
“Since then, we have repeatedly advised the owners that the players are prepared to sit down and negotiate on any day, with no pre-conditions. The owners refused. They apparently are only interested in meeting if we first agree to everything in their last offer, except for perhaps a few minor tweaks and discussion of their “make whole” provision.
“The message from the owners seems to be: if you don’t give us exactly what we want, there is no point in talking. They have shown they are very good at delivering deadlines and demands, but we need a willing partner to negotiate. We hope they return to the table in order to get the players back on the ice soon.”
One reason for the NHL canceling this big block of games is so that arenas can fill up for the month of November instead of having so many dark nights. Verizon Center is losing eight Caps games during the month.
The Winter Classic was not canceled Friday, though that could be coming soon given the millions of dollars and hours of manpower needed to put that together.