Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Nhl Labor All Games Next Month Are Canceled

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Nhl Labor All Games Next Month Are Canceled

Article excerpt

Could it be that, contrary to conventional wisdom, the lockout that has shut down the NHL since mid-September actually is making it tougher for casual fans to ignore the league?

After all, it can be tough to look away when you know there's a train wreck in progress.

And hockey is experiencing one that doesn't look as if it will end anytime soon.

The NHL announced Friday that it is canceling all games scheduled for November, raising the number of games called off because of the lockout to 326, or 26.5 percent of the regular-season schedule.

Scratching the November schedule reportedly will cost NHL teams about $720 million in hockey-related revenue.

The league's cancellation announcement made no mention of the Winter Classic, set for Jan. 1 in Ann Arbor, Mich., or the All-Star Game, which is supposed to be played Jan. 27 in Columbus, Ohio. One or both could be wiped out as early as next week if there is no positive movement in the talks.

Given that there have been no negotiations in the past week -- and none are planned -- it's tough to think that progress is imminent. Certainly, nothing either side said Friday suggested that there's reason to think that agreement on the major economic issues separating them is looming.

"The National Hockey League deeply regrets having to take this action," deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a prepared statement. "By presenting a proposal to the NHLPA [last week] 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."

Donald Fehr, executive director of the NHLPA, countered in a statement that the latest cancellations and the league's decision to withdraw its most recent proposal once its deadline for playing a full 82-game season passed Thursday was "deeply disappointing," but "comes as no surprise."

He characterized the league's most recent offer as a "take-it-or- leave-it" proposal and pointed out that the NHL rejected three counter-proposals from the NHLPA within 10 minutes of receiving them. …

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