Nearly 30 percent of the NHL season is now scrapped after the league decided Friday to cancel all games through Nov. 30.
The league made its announcement a day after its self-imposed deadline for getting a deal done within the framework of the 50-50 revenue split the league pitched to the NHL Players Association last week.
Friday's announcement means 326 games – 26.5 percent of the 2012-13 season – has now been canceled.
"The National Hockey League deeply regrets having to take this action," Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said. "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. We acknowledge and accept that there is joint responsibility in collective bargaining and, though we are profoundly disappointed that a new agreement has not been attained to this point, we remain committed to achieving an agreement that is fair for the players and the clubs – one that will be good for the game and our fans."
The NHLPA made three counteroffers last week that the league quickly rejected. Donald Fehr, the director of the union, said Friday's move was expected:
"The league officially informed us today that they have withdrawn their latest proposal and have canceled another slate of regular season games. This is deeply disappointing for all hockey fans and everyone who makes their living from hockey, including the players. But it comes as no surprise. Last week, the owners gave us what amounts to a 'take-it-or-leave-it' proposal. We responded with the framework for three proposals on the players’ share, each of which moved significantly, towards their stated desire for a 50-50 split of HRR, with the only condition being that they honour contracts they have already signed. Honouring contracts signed between owners and players is a reasonable request. Unfortunately, after considering them for only 10 minutes they rejected all of our proposals.
"Since then, we have repeatedly advised the owners that the players are prepared to sit down and negotiate on any day, with no pre-conditions. The owners refused. They apparently are only interested in meeting if we first agree to everything in their last offer, except for perhaps a few minor tweaks and discussion of their 'make whole' provision.
"The message from the owners seems to be: if you don't give us exactly what we want, there is no point in talking. 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."
The Sabres' previously announced policy concerning tickets sold to canceled games remains in effect. Tickets can be refunded at the start of each month, or season ticket holders can earn interest on money that would otherwise be refunded.
All games through Nov. 1 had already been canceled. Friday's announcement means the following Sabres games will not take place (home games in bold):
- Saturday, November 3 CAROLINA 7 p.m.
- Tuesday, November 6 @ Philadelphia 7 p.m.
- Thursday, November 8 @ San Jose 10 p.m.
- Saturday, November 10 @ Phoenix 8 p.m.
- Sunday, November 11 @ Anaheim 8 p.m.
- Friday, November 16 PHILADELPHIA 7 p.m.
- Saturday, November 17 @ Philadelphia 7 p.m.
- Wednesday, November 21 COLUMBUS 7 p.m.
- Saturday, November 24 @ NY Islanders 7 p.m.
- Tuesday, November 27 WINNIPEG 7 p.m.
- Thursday, November 29 VANCOUVER 7 p.m.
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