By Ben Raby
Four days after NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman threatened a lockout if a new collective bargaining agreement is not in place by Sept. 15, the Washington Capitals announced Monday that single-game tickets will go on sale this Friday, Aug. 17.
The Capitals have sold out the Verizon Center for a franchise-record 153 consecutive games (including the Stanley Cup Playoffs), and last year marked the third straight season that the Caps sold out every home game.
The Caps are slated to begin the 2012-13 campaign on home ice Friday, Oct. 12 against the defending Eastern Conference-champion New Jersey Devils.
By Tuesday though, the NHL and the Players Association, will have only 34 days before the current CBA expires. If a new deal is not in place by Sept. 15, the League will face its second work stoppage in eight years.
The two sides met on Monday in Toronto for the first of four days of meetings this week. Washington captain Alex Ovechkin tweeted Monday that he plans to attend Tuesdays session
Sucks to hear Bettman say they will lock out, Ovechkin tweeted. Im in Toronto Tuesday for negotiations at NHLPA office.
The PA is expected to formally present its counter proposal to the deal that the owners put forth in mid-July. Among the highlights of the owners proposal was a significant reduction in the percentage of hockey related revenues that the players would receive (from 57 percent to 46 percent), and limitations on the length of player contracts.
What we expect to do Tuesday is to put forth an alternative view as to what we should do next," NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr told reporters in Toronto Monday. "That's the best way I can put it.