Monday, October 01, 2012

NHL close to excising regular-season games

Multiple sources, including Kevin Allen of USA Today and the good folks over at SB Nation, are reporting that the National Hockey League will announce the cancellation of regular-season games some time this week.

Having cancelled its entire preseason slate, the NHL was set to begin its 2012-13 campaign on Thursday, October 11. That is now in jeopardy, primarily due to the lack of significant negotiations between the league and the players' union. Talks were held between both sides all weekend in New York City, but the major issues keeping both sides apart were apparently not breached.

"As I said [Friday] night, these meetings are necessary but they've been described, I think, as the underbrush," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in an NHL.com piece Saturday in reference to the material covered in meetings the past two days. "Certainly, they are not the main issues that need to be tackled to get a deal."

The league's greatest player, Wayne Gretzky, was quoted Monday in TSN of Canada, with his belief that the league will return to action just in time for the Winter Classic -- scheduled for January 1 at Michigan Stadium between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings.

"In general we're trying to discuss how do we find a way to make an agreement, how do we bridge the gaps on the major issues that are between us -- the kind of things you would hope we would be talking about," NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr said over the weekend.

Fehr is expected to hold a conference call for 3 PM today, to get all players up to speed on the progression of the weekend sessions. Any further discussions of core issues, like Hockey Related Revenues, will take place tomorrow, but there are no further gatherings scheduled as of now.

Additional reports indicate that the schedule will be dismantled in two-week chunks. 

Meanwhile, several Philadelphia Flyers are still wavering in their desire to play overseas while NHL-level hockey is on hiatus.  Scott Hartnell spoke to CSNPhilly, saying: “I have thought about it. I’ve looked into the price of my insurance and things like that. It’s not cheap by any means. Some decision soon I will have to make. I’m just focused on skating and getting the workouts in. Get that time.”

If you wish to take the first steps toward letting your displeasure with the lockout be heard:
Contact the NHL office at (212) 789-2000 ext. 2101, or by e-mail for Commissioner Gary Bettman: gbettman@nhl.com.
You can also voice your displeasure to the players' union by phone at (416) 313-2300 or by e-mail to Fehr at dfehr@nhlpa.com.
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