Friday, October 19, 2012

NHL makes another schedule cut

As would be expected with Gary Bettman's brusque shoot-down of a trio of NHLPA proposals during Thursday's truncated meetings in Toronto, the NHL has decided to excise yet another week of games from its master schedule.

"The National Hockey League announced today the cancellation of the 2012-13 regular-season schedule through November 1," stated a league release on Friday afternoon. "A total of 135 regular-season games were scheduled for Oct. 11 through Nov. 1. The cancellation was necessary because of the absence of a Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL Players' Association and the NHL."

However, in a bizarre twist, Darren Dreger from TSN of Canada reported that he believes the league is holding out hope for a November 2 start to the season, which may yet involve a full 82-game slate.

For the Flyers, that means five more matchups fall by the wayside: October 25 at Montreal, October 27 vs. Toronto, October 28 at Buffalo, October 30 vs. Dallas and November 1 vs. New Jersey.

But with no further discussions scheduled, and the original NHL offer still on the table, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that the season won't be starting by that early, pie-in-the-sky arbitrary date. For that to work, training camps would have to begin by the middle of next week, and that's an impossibility with only a week's lead time before games begin and well over 100 players stationed in Europe and dozens of others stashed in the AHL.

In addition, Ansar Khan from cited two sources close to the situation, saying that November 20 is the drop-dead date to save the Winter Classic.

It should be noted that, with the festivities scheduled for the Big House in front of a possible audience of 115,000 in Ann Arbor, the Winter Classic itself is the only scheduled event in danger of being cancelled. All college and high school action which would take place on the same ice sheet already has contingency plans in place.

Don Fehr sent a long letter to the players late on Friday, detailed here in its supposed unedited form by ESPN.

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