The NHL has cancelled all regular-season games through Nov. 30 after the league-imposed deadline to play a full 82-game season passed Thursday. A total of 326 games -- or 26.5 percent of the season -- have now been lost.
“The National Hockey League deeply regrets having to take this action,” Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in a news release. “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."
Last week, despite a surprise proposal from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman that would have salvaged a full season beginning Nov. 2, the league and the NHL Players' Association could not reach a deal on a new collective barganing agreement. The two sides have not formally met since last Thursday and the union's offer to meet with the league this week was rebuffed.
"The message from the owners seems to be: if you don't give us exactly what we want, there is no point in talking," NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr said in a statement. "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.”
Locally, the Washington Capitals lose 13 more games, including eight scheduled at Verizon Center. Meanwhile, KHL exhibition games scheduled to take place in Brooklyn, NY., in January -- featuring Capitals forwards Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom -- have been moved back to Russia.
Axing games through November presumably means that the Winter Classic and the All-Star Game are both safe for now, but according to ESPN's John Buccigross, the NHL plans to cancel both marquee events as early as Monday.
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