Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Full NHL season not likely

Along with the news of the Islanders franchise signing a 25-year lease to play in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn starting in 2015 once their lease at the Nassau Coliseum expires, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman once again went to his pocket pet phrases to reveal that a full 82-game schedule is all but dead.

"Obviously as you know we made an offer to the Union last week to share revenues 50-50 and to deal with the so-called 'make whole' provision that was contingent on playing an 82-game season, which would necessitate making a deal by [Thursday]," Bettman said at a Wednesday presser. "The Union has chosen not to engage on our proposal or to make a new proposal of their own, so unfortunately it looks like an 82-game season is not going to be a reality."

Never mind that the only negotiating the league will do is based off its own reconfigured proposal, and not on the three-pronged "menu" the union presented late last week in Toronto.

Never mind how ludicrous it is to ask more than 100 players currently skating in Europe to drop everything, rush home, have a week-long training camp, then wedge an 82-game slate in a time-frame suitable for under 70 games. Or to have lower-level players in the American Hockey League drop whatever they are doing in the minors and get back to their parent clubs.

"They have no inclination on doing either and so there really was no point in meeting at this point," Bettman added. "There are just some times where you need to take time off because it's clear that you can't do anything to move the process forward and we're at one of those points right now because we gave our very best offer."

There is speculation that the league will cancel games in another two-week block later this week, and further speculation that games will either be chucked up until the Winter Classic to provide more time for both sides to schedule further serious talks.

According to CBC Sports, the full season will be off the table if some kind of agreement isn't reached by tomorrow, which, let's be honest, has as much chance of happening as French Canadians agreeing to become monolingual in English.

In addition, TSN of Canada's Bob McKenzie reported that the All-Star Game has a better chance of being axed first, before the Winter Classic. He said on TSN Radio 1050 that the January 1 game at Michigan Stadium between Detroit and Toronto could be cancelled early next month.

And the useless volley continues: 

"The players made multiple core-economic proposals on Thursday that were a significant move in the owners' direction. We are and continue to be ready to meet to discuss how to resolve our remaining differences, with no preconditions," said NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr. "For whatever reason, the owners are not. At the same time they are refusing to meet, they are winding the clock down to yet another artificial deadline they created."

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