NHL Cancels All Games Through November 30

The NHLPA had until yesterday to come to terms with the NHL's latest offer of a 50-50 revenue split and save the 82 game season. The union provided a 3 part counter proposal last week in response but the NHL, but it was rejected "in about 10 minutes" according to several angry players. So, the NHL pulled their offer off the table yesterday and announced today that November's games are caput. Now the Winter Classic and All Star Game (oh gee shucks) could soon be cancelled. It's a standoff. It sucks.

Here are some Lockout links and quotes from around the web.

@TSNBobMcKenzie: As expected, NHL cancels games thru end of Nov. Failing CBA progress, Winter Classic and All-Star Game likely cancelled in a week or so.

@Real_ESPNLeBrun: Sorry check that: $720 million in lost HRR for season if no games played in November...

@Real_ESPNLeBrun: NHL makes it official: all games in November cancelled. A total of 326 regular-season games now gone – 26.5 percent of the season...

"The National Hockey League deeply regrets having to take this action," said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly in a statement.

"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." Bill Daley via TSN.

"This is deeply disappointing for all hockey fans and everyone who makes their living from hockey, including the players," said NHLPA executive driector Donald Fehr in a statement. "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." -Donald Fehr via TSN

“I believe they [owners] have to come back to the table with something. The biggest deal for us is to honour our contracts and that’s fair. They signed them and we’ve given them three different ways to get to 50-50. It really seems like common sense.

“When they offered 50-50, we figured it would be one of three things: It was pressure from other owners to put an offer out, an actual legitimate chance of negotiating, or just Gary and he’s got a date in his head when everything comes back together. He seems to be on some hidden agenda and a day they [owners] can’t go past. If that’s what it is and we keep conceding, it only makes sense for us to hold out.” -Dan Hamhuis via The Province

Say sides are $500m apart on 7yr deal. It's $2.3m per owner/yr. Or a LWer. Chicken feed for billionaires. So, how is this worth it to them? -Jason Botchford on Twitter.

"I think that a deal is there to be made and recent events lead me to believe the NHL is simply testing us," he wrote. "After they have satisfied their curiosity about the strength of our resolve we will have real negotiating for the first time in this whole debacle."

"The two sides are close enough to a deal that missing the bulk of a season is wrong and missing an entire season is not only insane, it is a blatant disregard for the sport, the fans and the culture we have grown over decades -- just to satisfy egos, not the needs of either side," Ryan Miller wrote in an email to ESPN.

"Consider that Canadian broadcasting rights are up for negotiations by 2014 and the Islanders will be in a new facility by 2015. Those are just two examples of things that are certain to put a lot more money into the league," he wrote. "I am sure we can sit down and come up with many more examples, and speculate on other things that Gary (Bettman) will never admit to until a CBA is drafted, like relocation or expansion. So when the owners want us to take less than our latest proposal you have to remember they are asking for all of this and holding hockey hostage knowing they have a lot of new revenue coming down the line and they have seen us move toward them in every category. The least they could do is honor our contracts and find a way to start the hockey season." - an angry Ryan Miller

But even if the NHL claims its latest offer - 50/50 revenue split beginning this year - will be yanked from the table, well that just doesn't mean very much, they teach that in the first week of Haggling 101.

The aim here is pretty evident: test the players’ resolve by threatening a shortened season with pro-rated salaries, which would force them to give up roughly the amount of money the league was asking for in terms of salary concessions in its last offer.

Economists call it the law of diminishing returns, and the league wants to steepen the curve.

It’s a reasonable tactic from the NHL’s point of view, but don’t expect the players to blink - certainly not until it actually becomes logistically impossible to play a full season (with 100 per cent salaries).

That won’t be for at least another three weeks.

-Sean Gordon at The Globe And Mail. That is a solid read by the way.

“Y’all should be able to figure this out. Get this done.” - Barrack Obama on Jay Leno this week. Shut up Mr. President. Screw your agenda.

"Fuck this shit. Blah blah yakkity yack from players and owners passing blame. Shut the fuck up and hammer this out. I cansee through your pathetic mind games and passing of blame." -Sean Zandberg via Nucks Misconduct. (heh!)

Blame game aside, what’s mystifying to outsiders is that the two sides don’t actually seem to be that far apart. Unlike the 2004-05 lockout, where the owners succeeded in imposing a salary cap system that the players abhorred, there is no vast ideological gulf. Yes, the NHL’s latest proposal for a 50-50 revenue split—down from 57-43 in the just-expired agreement—would see the players’ share reduced by as much as $1.6 billion over the life of the deal. But the NHLPA counter-offers have already indicated its willingness to at least head toward an even split. The fighting is about how soon and by what mechanism. By some estimations, the difference between the parties now stands at $130 million a year—a little less than four per cent of the league’s $3.3 billion in revenue in 2011-12. - Jonathan Gatehouse (who wrote Bettman's biography) via Maclean's.ca. Another great read.

Aside from the other contractual issues that are left unsettled, however, that's the slim margin we're talking about here, one that could and should have been made up for in negotiations this week.

That it hasn't is a sad commentary on the sorry state of relations between these two sides. There's so much distrust that it appears they don't even know when they're not far away from what they're both asking for.

It's sad, and it's silly. And they're running out of time before games are killed off, projected revenues drop and the gap widens again. - James Mirtle from the Globe And Mail uses graphs to illustrate that the two sides are not all that far apart.

@TheFakeESPN: RUMOR: We just heard NHL might possibly be in a lockout!? Can anyone confirm for us if this is true? Anyone?

OK, enough of that shit. How about something to calm your nerves? Well these Twin can help:

Harp Twins FTW.

Was that too mellow? OK, how about this:

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

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