So, it’s come to this: We will apparently not enjoy a full 82-game slate for our favorite teams this season, as the NHL announced a short time ago that it will excise the first two weeks of the year:
“The National Hockey League announced today the cancellation of the 2012-13 regular-season schedule through October 24. A total of 82 regular-season games were scheduled for Oct. 11 through Oct. 24.
The cancellation was necessary because of the absence of a Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL Players’ Association and the NHL.”
While it does mean that games can be rescheduled, let’s be frank and admit that, since both the NHL and NHLPA are still miles apart in the most important issues of the expired CBA, a simple “rescheduling” is highly unlikely. A total of 82 games for this 14-day period across the league have been put aside for now. Isn’t it ironic, dontcha think?
For the Flyers, this means originally-scheduled matchups with Boston on October 11, October 13 on Long Island, October 18 with Pittsburgh and October 20 against Winnipeg are in jeopardy.
This marks the fourth time in the last 20 years that labor issues have forced games to be removed. The league was shut down for 10 days in April of 1992 before games were rescheduled, then from October 1 to January 20 in 1994-95, and the entire 2004-05 matrix was wiped out due to continued discord between the league and the players’ association.
“The decision to cancel the first two weeks of the NHL season is the unilateral choice of the NHL owners,” said NHLPA leader Don Fehr in his own statement.
“If the owners truly cared about the game and the fans, they would lift the lockout and allow the season to begin on time while negotiations continue. A lockout should be the last resort in bargaining, not the strategy of first resort. For nearly 20 years, the owners have elected to lock-out the players in an effort to secure massive concessions. Nevertheless, the players remain committed to playing hockey while the parties work to reach a deal that is fair for both sides. We hope we will soon have a willing negotiating partner.”
NHL deputy commish Bill Daly, as usual, also weighed in: “We were extremely disappointed to have to make today’s announcement. The game deserves better, the fans deserve better and the people who derive income from their connection to the NHL deserve better. “We remain committed to doing everything in our power to forge an agreement that is fair to the players, fair to the teams and good for our fans.
“This is not about ‘winning’ or ‘losing’ a negotiation. This is about finding a solution that preserves the long-term health and stability of the League and the game. “We are committed to getting this done.”