Thursday, October 04, 2012

NHL begins schedule "restructuring"

While they're not calling it an outright cancellation, the National Hockey League announced on Thursday afternoon that 14 days worth of games -- from October 11-24 have been officially wiped out as they appeared on the master schedule released in Summer.

"The National Hockey League announced today the cancellation of the 2012-13 regular-season schedule through October 24. The cancellation was necessary because of the absence of a Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL Players' Association and the NHL."

That's a total of 82 games across the board, but only four Flyers contests: October 11 against Boston, October 13 at the Islanders, then October 18 and 20 against Pittsburgh and Winnipeg, respectively, on home ice.

The likelihood of all those games being rescheduled if both the NHL and NHLPA miraculously come to an agreement on a new CBA in that window is minuscule at the moment, with no serious talks scheduled in the near future and players jetting off to Europe at an increased rate.

“The decision to cancel the first two weeks of the NHL season is the unilateral choice of the NHL owners,' said NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr. "If the owners truly cared about the game and the fans, they would lift the lockout and allow the season to begin on time while negotiations continue. A lockout should be the last resort in bargaining, not the strategy of first resort. For nearly 20 years, the owners have elected to lock-out the players in an effort to secure massive concessions. Nevertheless, the players remain committed to playing hockey while the parties work to reach a deal that is fair for both sides. We hope we will soon have a willing negotiating partner.”

Earlier in the day, both Claude Giroux and Danny Briere defected to Eisbaren Berlin of the German Elite League.

"We were extremely disappointed to have to make today's announcement. The game deserves better, the fans deserve better and the people who derive income from their connection to the NHL deserve better.
"We remain committed to doing everything in our power to forge an agreement that is fair to the players, fair to the teams and good for our fans," offered NHL second-in-command Bill Daly.

"This is not about 'winning' or 'losing' a negotiation. This is about finding a solution that preserves the long-term health and stability of the League and the game. "We are committed to getting this done."

For the first time in league history, no meaningful hockey will have been played between the conclusion of one year's Stanley Cup Finals and the resumption of the following campaign fter a work stoppage.
For the second time in eight years, the NHL enters a work stoppage without having played a preseason.

In 1994, all 26 clubs were able to participate in exhibition contests before the league initiated a lockout at midnight on October 1, the day the 1994-95 season was to get underway. Although the 2004-05 NHL season was wiped out due to discord between the NHL and NHLPA, the second and to date last World Cup of Hockey was contested prior to the expiration of that CBA.
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