The NHL lockout has wiped the entire November schedule off the calendar, and now a growing number of players including Ryan Miller are speaking publicly about the process.
On Friday NHL commissioner Gary Bettmanannounced that the players had missed the deadline to work on a proposal offered by the league, and the NHL lockout would wipe out all games scheduled for November. Yahoo reports that this means the cancellation of the Hall of Fame Game in Toronto and a Thanksgiving showdown between the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers.
The NHL and owners are arguing that too much of the league’s revenue is going to player salaries — the most recent deal gave them 57 percent of revenue — and are offering a 50-50 split. Players have appeared to be amendable to the 50-50 split but insist that owners must honor their current contracts.
The owners had offered the 50-50 split to players in a widely publicized offer, but the offer was rescinded on Friday after players and owners could not come to terms about the current contracts.
Buffalo Sabres’ goalie Ryan Miller told ESPN that he sees the move by owners as way of testing players during the NHL lockout.
“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 in an email to ESPN. “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.”
Miller had criticism for both sides, noting that egos were getting in the way of completing a deal that could save the NHL season.
“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,” Miller wrote.
The Minnesota Wild’s Ryan Suter took the criticism of owners a step further, questioning whether they negotiated the players’ current contracts in good faith knowing that they planned on challenging the CBA in the NHL lockout.
“From what’s going on right now? Yes. Definitely,” Suter told ESPN The Magazine. “I haven’t done any interviews. I haven’t said anything, but yeah, it’s disappointing that the owners, they sign all these guys and some guys were signed within the last week before the CBA was up. Now, they’re trying to go back on their word. It’s frustrating, disappointing. It doesn’t seem like that’s the way you operate a relationship or business.”
The NHL lockout has likely wiped out the chance of an 82-game season, ESPN notes, and could soon claim the league’s crown jewel, the Winter Classic.