NEW YORK -- The NHL says there will be no bargaining with the players' union Saturday, leaving nothing to stop a lockout. The action adds to the labor unrest across American professional sports. This will be the third lockout of a major sports league in 18 months, after ones in the NFL and the NBA. "We talked with the union this morning and in light of the fact that they have nothing new to offer, or any substantive response to our last proposal, there would be nothing gained by convening a bargaining session at this time," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN.com. "I'm sure we will keep in touch in the coming days and schedule meetings to the extent they might be useful or appropriate. We are sorry for where we are. Not what we hoped or expected."
Daly had conferred with players' association special counsel Steve Fehr, the brother of NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr, to see if there would be face-to-face talks. "Today, we suggested that the parties meet in advance of the owners' self-imposed deadline of midnight tonight," Steve Fehr said. "Don Fehr, myself and several players on the negotiating committee were in the city and prepared to meet. The NHL said that it saw no purpose in having a formal meeting. There have been and continue to be private, informal discussions between representatives of both sides." This was the third straight day the sides spoke by phone but avoided the negotiating table. By early afternoon it became clear the league was heading to its fourth work stoppage since 1992. For nearly a year, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has said he will lock out players if a collective bargaining agreement wasn't set by the time the current one expires. It now appears unlikely that training camps will open next week. The regular season had been scheduled to begin Oct. 11, but that is also in peril. All four of the major leagues in the United States -- football, basketball, baseball and hockey -- have gone through labor negotiations within the past couple of years. Both the NFL and NBA went into lockouts, and though the NFL missed no regular-season games, the 2011-12 NBA season was shortened. Some have suggested that MLB did not have a work stoppage because baseball has no salary cap, allowing for more wiggle room in negotiations. While this lockout might not wipe out the whole season as the one in 2004-05 did, a good chunk of games could be lost without productive talks soon. In jeopardy are a couple of key items: the New Year's Day outdoor Winter Classic at 115,000-seat Michigan Stadium between the host Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs and , the Jan. 27 All-Star Game hosted by the Columbus Blue Jackets, one of the league's struggling small-market teams. The sides traded proposals Wednesday, but neither new offer moved them closer to a deal. The lack of progress then made a lockout almost inevitable. "I think it's fair to say there was no realistic expectation to avoid a lockout as of developments on Wednesday and Thursday," Daly told the AP. Bettman has insisted that hockey management is determined to come away with economic gains, even if it forces another work stoppage. Damage is certain to occur almost immediately, and there is no telling how jilted fans and sponsors will react to another shutdown, especially if it lasts through the fall and into the winter. Players are concerned management hasn't addressed the league's financial problems by re-examining the teams' revenue-sharing formula. Having made several big concessions to reach a deal in 2005, the union doesn't think it should have to make more this time after record financial growth. Bettman repeated has said the NHL won't operate under the CBA that ended the previous lockout in July 2005. Once the lockout was imposed in September 2004, the sides didn't get back together again until December. Players absorbed a salary-cap system and took an immediate 24 percent rollback of existing contracts in 2005 in exchange for 57 percent of hockey-related revenues. The NHL now says that figure is too high, and is willing to have another league shutdown to reduce that share to 49 percent to 47 percent. Its original offer was to cut it to 43 percent, and an updated proposal raised it to 46 before another new offer pushed it a little higher Wednesday, the last time the sides met at the negotiating table. The most recent proposal from the league -- with a six-year term -- came in direct response to one put forth by the union earlier Wednesday that was rejected as being similar to the players' two previous offers. Instead of making a percentage-based offer, the union is seeking a deal that would guarantee players annually at least the $1.8 billion in salaries paid out last season Bettman said the league's latest offer would be pulled off the table once the current CBA expired because immediate damage caused by a lockout would force the NHL to reassess what it could then offer. In the previous lockout, both sides dug in over the salary cap. Owners wouldn't make a deal without it, and players sacrificed a full season before finally agreeing to a cost-certainty system for teams. Without such a philosophical difference this time, the sides merely have to figure out a way to divide hockey revenues that grew from $2.1 billion to $3.3 billion under the expiring deal. On Friday, the Quebec Labor Relations Board rejected a request from the players' association for a temporary injunction against a potential lockout in Quebec. But the board also ruled that more hearings are needed to make a final decision on a request by 16 members of the Montreal Canadiens and the players' association to declare a lockout illegal in the province. No date was set for further hearings. With the ruling, Canadiens players will be locked out with their colleagues if a work stoppage goes ahead on schedule. Daly said in a statement the league was "extremely appreciative" of the decision. "We are hopeful that this ruling will cause the players' association to cease pursuing these needless distractions and instead focus all of its efforts and energies on making progress at the bargaining table," he said. Likewise, the union was "pleased" with the ruling because it rejected the NHL's request to dismiss the case. "The ruling acknowledges that the players have raised issues about the legality of the NHL's planned lockout that require a full hearing on the merits," union general counsel Don Zavelo said in a statement. "We remain confident that the lockout is prohibited by the Quebec labor code and look forward to presenting our case to the commission in the near future. Should the NHL carry out its threat to lock out the players in Quebec, it will do so at its own risk." A similar request was filed late Thursday with the Alberta Labor Relations Board. NHLPA director of operations Alexandra Dagg said the aim was to prevent players from the Canadiens, Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames from being locked out. The NHLPA argued that because it isn't certified as a union with the province, its members can't locked out under Quebec labor law. In Alberta, the union will argue that proper procedure wasn't followed, including using a mediator. The current contract was agreed to in 2005, and Bob Goodenow resigned as union head two weeks later. After stints by Ted Saskin and Paul Kelly, the union in 2010 turned to Donald Fehr, who led baseball players through three work stoppages in the 1980s and '90s. Players struck in April 1992, causing 30 games to be postponed. This would be the third lockout under Bettman. The 1994-95 lockout ended after 103 days and the cancellation of 468 games. The most recent lockout was finally settled in July 2005 -- 301 days into the work stoppage and a month after the league would usually have awarded the Stanley Cup. It marked the first time a North American professional sports league lost an entire season because of a labor dispute, and the first time the Stanley Cup wasn't handed out since 1919, when a flu epidemic caused no champion to be crowned.
Well that sucks. Saw it comming but hoped for the best.
The media over here speaks about the Danes might come back to Denmark and play for their orginal team. It would be nice to have the Danes come play in the league again but then again my team would have even smaller chances of winning and I'd have to create a banner saying: GO HAWKS GO!
The NHL and NHLPA met Friday at the union offices in Toronto and plan to talk again this weekend, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN.com via email. Daly was joined by commissioner Gary Bettman in the meeting with NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr and union counsel Steve Fehr. Daly said there was nothing more to report. During Friday's meeting, the NHL strongly urged the NHLPA to come up with a new proposal, two sources told ESPN.com. In turn, sources said, the NHLPA also asked the league to come up with a new proposal. It is expected that Donald Fehr and Bettman will speak by phone at some point this weekend. Daly and Steve Fehr likely will, as well.
NHLPA spokesman Jonathan Weatherdon said any discussions this weekend won't be in person. The meeting was not announced to the media and comes a day after the NHL canceled the opening two weeks of the regular season. Unable to work out how to split $3 billion in hockey-related revenues with the players' association, the NHL wiped out 82 games from Oct. 11 through Oct. 24 -- beginning with four on Oct. 11, which would have been the league's opening night. "We were extremely disappointed to have to make today's announcement," Daly said Thursday in a statement. "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." The union countered Thursday by saying the NHL forced the lockout instead of letting the season go on as planned. "The decision to cancel the first two weeks of the NHL season is the unilateral choice of the NHL owners," Donald Fehr said in a 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."