NHL lockout: Games canceled through Dec. 14
Share with others:
News Friday regarding the NHL lockout evolved around what is not scheduled.
There are no negotiating sessions between the league and the NHL Players' Association set up, and there was another round of cancellations.
The NHL canceled an additional two weeks of games, through Dec. 14, as well as the All-Star weekend, scheduled for January in Columbus.
The lockout this weekend turns 10 weeks old.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr -- the regular points of contact -- spoke Friday, but it did not lead to new meetings toward trying to reach accord on a new collective bargaining agreement. That was shortly before each took a turn doing a rare interview.
They spoke to 590 The Fan, a radio station in Toronto.
Fehr said the sides have maintained frequent contact, but neither sounded optimistic that a deal is close -- and each took a bit of a shot at the other side.
Daly said he wasn't sure the union leadership wants to get a deal done. League officials previously have questioned NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr's tactics and whether he was fully informing players and representing their wishes.
Of the NHLPA, Steve Fehr said "of course we want to get a deal done," but of the NHL's desire to, "we have our doubts," he said.
Daly said he "underestimated the magnitude of the gulf between us. ... I don't really understand how we got where we are."
The sides last met Wednesday, when the league turned down a proposal the players made that day.
Steve Fehr noted that the NHL at least took some time to analyze that proposal. In October when the players offered three alternatives to a portion of a proposal by the league, the NHL quickly rejected them.
"They didn't dismiss it in 10 minutes [this time]," Steve Fehr said. "They did move on some things."
He added that the NHL did not make concessions on issues that "they are trying to take a meat axe to" and said if anyone wants to make a Thanksgiving analogy, "They gave us the relish tray, not the turkey."
In case that didn't paint the picture well enough, Steve Fehr added that, "We moved a couple of miles, and they moved a couple of inches, it's fair to say."
One of the latest questions beyond the CBA issues such as core economics and contract rights is whether the players might vote to decertify as a union, a tactic the NBA and NFL players used during lockouts last year.
Steve Fehr declined to address the topic, saying only that "all options are being considered."
Daly said such a move would "likely lead to the end of the season."
After the latest cancellations, Donald Fehr released a statement:
"On Wednesday, the players presented a comprehensive proposal, once again moving in the owners' direction in order to get the game back on the ice. The gap that remains on the core economic issues is $182 million. On Wednesday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said that the league is losing [$18 million to $20 million] per day during the lockout, therefore two more weeks of canceled games far exceeds the current economic gap. It makes the NHL's announcement of further game cancellations, including the 2013 All-Star weekend, all the more unnecessary, and disappointing for all hockey fans -- especially those in Columbus. The players remain ready to negotiate but we require a willing negotiating partner."
It's believed that if a deal could be struck in time to start the season Dec. 15, it would be shortened to no more than 60 games and modified, perhaps to include only intraconference games.
The 2012-13 season was scheduled to begin Oct. 11. The league previously canceled its schedule through the end of this month.
The Penguins had been scheduled to play 30 games before Dec. 14. In all, 422 regular-season NHL games -- 34.3 percent of the season -- are now off the table.
"The reality of losing more regular-season games as well as the 2013 NHL All-Star weekend in Columbus is extremely disappointing," Daly said in a statement. "We feel badly for NHL fans and particularly those in Columbus, and we intend to work closely with the Blue Jackets organization to return the NHL All-Star events to Columbus and their fans as quickly as possible."
The Blue Jackets announced that fans who hold tickets for the All-Star events will receive refunds.
NOTES -- Penguins center Evgeni Malkin had a power-play assist in Metallurg Magnitogorsk's 5-1 win against Barys in the Kontinental Hockey League. ... Penguins forward Dustin Jeffrey had a power-play goal and an assist in Medvescak Zagreb's 6-2 win against Salzburg in the Austrian league. ... The Penguins who are skating locally did not have a usual Friday practice because of the holiday weekend.
First Published November 24, 2012 12:00 am