The NHL cancelled another few weeks of hockey today. The league cancelled all regular season games through December 14 and this year’s all-star game.
According to ESPN, the league has now cancelled 422 regular season games or 34.3 percent of the season. The annual outdoor Winter Classic game was also cancelled.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement:
“The reality of losing more regular-season games as well as the 2013 NHL All-Star Weekend in Columbus is extremely disappointing … We feel badly for NHL fans and particularly those in Columbus, and we intend to work closely with the Blue Jackets organization to return the NHL All-Star events to Columbus and their fans as quickly as possible.”
The NHL and the NHL Players’ Association met earlier this week to settle the ongoing dispute. The NHLPA put another proposal on the table but the league rejected the offer. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said that the two sides still remain “far apart” on several key issues.
NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr said:
“It makes the NHL’s announcement of further game cancellations, including the 2013 All-Star Weekend, all the more unnecessary, and disappointing for all hockey fans — especially those in Columbus. The players remain ready to negotiate but we require a willing negotiating partner.”
With the two sides still far apart on several issues the league may be forced to cancel the entire season. Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller said that the NHLPA is thinking about filing for decertification so that they can file an anti-trust lawsuit against the league.
“After watching the other sport leagues go through labor disputes last year, it is apparent that until decertification is filed, there will not be any real movement or negotiation. They want to see if we will take a bad deal because we get desperate or if we have the strength to push back. Decertification is a push back and should show we want a negotiation and a fair deal on at least some of our terms.”