NHL cancels additional 53 games as negotiations stall
The situation hasn’t got any better since the NHL cancelled the first two weeks of the regular-season earlier this month, extending a lockout that has been lingering due to financial disputes regarding the new CBA.
After a loss of 53 regular-season games, the NHL announced it was renegotiating with the NHLPA by releasing a copy of its proposal to the media. The NHLPA responded on Thursday with three counter-proposals that were shortly rejected by the NHL. The 50-50 split of the hockey-related revenues has been a key feature that been driving a rift between the NHL and the NHLPA.
"We are disappointed that the NHL has canceled more games as a result of the owners' lockout,” stated special assistant to the NHLPA executive director, Mathieu Schneider. “The players made another major move in the negotiations this week in an effort to end the lockout, by presenting the owners with a proposal that gets to a 50-50 split of revenues.”
"This is not a good day," NFLPA executive director Donald Fehr expressed his disappointment on the fallout of negotiations on Thursday. "It should have been."
However, the players will be receiving some payment this month after the NHL and NHLPA jointly finalized the release of last season’s escrow to the players. NHL players will receive this month 7.98 percent of the 8.5 percent previously frozen in escrow by the league.
“In return, we expect that owners will honor the current contracts they have already signed,” said Mathieu Schneider, “which everyone knows is fair.”
Meanwhile the recent cancellation into supposedly week three of the regular season means the loss of another 82 games. So far, 135 games have been cancelled, which accounts for over 11 percent of the regular-season games.
"As expected," stated New York Rangers goalie Marin Biron. "We continue to work hard to find an agreement and get back to playing hockey."
Despite the NHL’s announcement of game cancellation through Nov 1, there are still hopes of maintaining an 82-game regular-season since the cancelled games are still technically listed as “postponed” by the league.
Tuesday’s proposal by the NHL was the owners’ first step in over a month re-entering negotiations with the NHLPA in an effort to preserve an 82-game regular-season.NHL Commissioner Gary Bettmen hinted that games would resume by 2nd November, if both parties reached an agreement by Thursday.
However, if the deadline is breached and negotiations are still stalled, the next series of game cancellations by the NHL could prove to be more significant. The New Year's Day Winter Classic is one of the most prominent events that could be lost to the fans due to the regress negotiations. The Detroit Red Wings are scheduled to face the Toronto Maple Leafs in a fitting outdoor home game at the Michigan Stadium.
Up-to-date, no further negotiations are scheduled between the NHL and NFLPA. Neither have the two parties made any contacts to arrange future meetings.