More regular season NHL games canceled as talks stall
With talks on a new contract with players still at an impasse, the NHL Friday announced the cancellation of more regular-season games.
“The National Hockey League announced today the cancellation of the 2012-13 regular-season schedule through November 1,” the league said in a statement.
The league had already cancelled the first scheduled fortnight of the season, from October 11-October 24.
The league said a total of 135 games had been scheduled for October 11-November 1.
“The cancellation was necessary because of the absence of a Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL Players’ Association and the NHL,” the brief league statement said.
The move came a day after NHL commissioner Gary Bettman called the latest counter proposals from the players union “a step backwards”.
Talks on a new collective bargaining agreement have been stalled for months largely over how to divide $3.2 billion in hockey-related revenues, and owners locked out players on September 15.
Players had received 57 percent under the old deal.
Owners had asked for at least 53 percent under a new agreement, but on Tuesday had offered a deal including a 50-50 split, saying they hoped to reach a deal in time to open the season by November 2 and salvage a full schedule of games and the Stanley Cup playoffs.
But Bettman indicated Thursday that the league was disappointed by the players’ response.
“None of the three variations of players’ share (of revenue) that they gave us even began to approach 50-50, either at all or for some long period of time, and it’s clear that we’re not speaking the same language in terms of what they came back to us with,” Bettman said.
Players union chief Don Fehr said the latest NHL proposal still represents huge reductions in player salaries.
The NHL lost its entire 2004-05 season to a similar dispute.