Lockout claims meaningful games as NHL cancels two weeks of regular season | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Lockout claims meaningful games as NHL cancels two weeks of regular season

A nearly-empty hockey stick rack in the Buffalo Sabres locker room is shown at the First Niagara Center, home of the Buffalo Sabres NHL hockey team, in Buffalo, N.Y., Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012. The NHL has cancelled 82 regular-season games scheduled through Oct. 24. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Duprey
October 04, 2012 - 2:10 PM

Eight years after becoming the first North American sports league to have a season wiped out by a labour dispute, the NHL is missing meaningful games again.

The league announced Thursday that it had cancelled the first two weeks of the 2012-13 schedule — wiping out 82 games through Oct. 24.

The season had been scheduled to start Oct. 11 with four games.

Despite negotiating regularly throughout the summer, the NHL and NHL Players' Association have been unable to make any progress in collective bargaining talks. The lockout is into its 19th day and the sides currently don't have any negotiating sessions scheduled.

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly claimed earlier this week that the work stoppage has already cost the league almost US$100 million in lost revenue.

"That is not going to be recouped and that's going to cost both sides," Daly said after talks broke off Tuesday in New York. "That's unfortunate but it's a reality of where we are."

It's only going to get worse now.

The delayed start to the season will ensure players miss the first of 13 paycheques, which were scheduled to go out on Oct. 15. Owners are facing the prospect of empty buildings and missed gates.

Both sides are familiar with the situation as it is the NHL's third lockout in 18 years. A total of 468 games were lost in 1994-95, when the shortened season started on Jan. 20, while the entire year was wiped out during the last round of negotiations in 2004-05.

That was the first time the Stanley Cup wasn't awarded since 1919.

With the industry bracing for another long work stoppage, players have scattered around the globe. More than 100 have already found jobs in Europe — roughly 15 per cent of the union's total membership — and that number is expected to climb now that meaningful games are gone.

Doom and gloom has enveloped the talks in recent weeks, something that once seemed unimaginable after the league posted record revenues over the last seven seasons.

However, both sides insist that all is not lost. They have maintained a regular dialogue and kept the process from getting personal, and each will come under more pressure to find a solution as time goes on.

"It's going to require sitting there and staying with it — even if it's unpleasant, even if people aren't saying anything new right away, even if you'd rather be doing something else — until you find a way to do it," said Donald Fehr, the NHLPA's executive director. "They haven't been willing to do that a lot lately. Hopefully, that'll change."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2012
The Canadian Press

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