The NHL and NHLPA have reached another stalemate in their all-but-silent negotiations.
And on Friday, more games got the axe.
The league officially announced the cancellation of games through Nov. 30 on Friday afternoon. Now 326 regular-season games, from Oct. 11 through Nov. 30, have been lost.
Blackhawks defenseman and player representative Steve Montador, via email, called it sad news.
Anytime this happens its a dagger in the heart of all hockey fans and players, he said. However, we could come to deal and play some games in November, though unlikely at this point. So for the league to cancel that many is a tactic in itself.
These actions do nothing other them to strengthen our resolve and motivate the players to do whats right or us and the sport, Montador said.
League deputy commissioner Bill Daly released a statement on the cancellation:
The National Hockey League deeply regrets having to take this action. By presenting a proposal to the NHLPA that contemplated a fair division of revenues and was responsive to Player concerns regarding the value of their contracts, we had hoped to be able to forge a long-term Collective Bargaining Agreement that would have preserved an 82-game Regular Season for our fans. Unfortunately, that did not occur.
We acknowledge and accept that there is joint responsibility in collective bargaining and, though we are profoundly disappointed that a new agreement has not been attained to this point, we remain committed to achieving an agreement that is fair for the Players and the Clubs -- one that will be good for the game and our fans.
NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr also released a statement:
The league officially informed us today that they have withdrawn their latest proposal and have cancelled another slate of regular season games. This is deeply disappointing for all hockey fans and everyone who makes their living from hockey, including the players. But it comes as no surprise.
Last week the owners gave us what amounts to a "take-it-or-leave-it" proposal. We responded with the framework for three proposals on the players share, each of which moved significantly, towards their stated desire for a 50-50 split of HRR, with the only condition being that they honour contracts they have already signed. Honouring contracts signed between owners and players is a reasonable request. Unfortunately, after considering them for only 10 minutes they rejected all of our proposals.
Since then, we have repeatedly advised the owners that the players are prepared to sit down and negotiate on any day, with no pre-conditions. The owners refused. They apparently are only interested in meeting if we first agree to everything in their last offer, except for perhaps a few minor tweaks and discussion of their make whole provision.
The message from the owners seems to be: "if you don't give us exactly what we want, there is no point in talking. They have shown they are very good at delivering deadlines and demands, but we need a willing partner to negotiate. We hope they return to the table in order to get the players back on the ice soon.
Its more disappointing news as the league and players association continue to make little headway toward reaching a new collective bargaining agreement. The two sides havent negotiated since last week when the NHL came forward with a 50-50 proposal, the NHLPA countered with three proposals of its own and the league rejected all of them.
Here is a list of the latest cancelled Blackhawks games:
Nov 2: vs. Nashville
Nov 3: at Toronto
Nov 5: vs. Pittsburgh
Nov 7: at Colorado
Nov 10: at Dallas
Nov 11: vs. Edmonton
Nov 14: at Edmonton
Nov 15: at Vancouver
Nov 17: at Calgary
Nov 20: at San Jose
Nov 21: at Los Angeles
Nov 23: at Anaheim
Nov 27: vs. Los Angeles
Nov 28: at Minnesota
Nov 30: vs. Calgary