After the cancellation of the entire preseason last month the NHL claimed publicly that the lost revenue totaled somewhere in the vicinity of $100 million. Two weeks of cancelled regular season games, according to Bill Daly, who spoke with the OC Daily Register, is going to cost player and owners alike a whole lot more:
"What I can say is obviously we lost about $90 million with losing the preseason," Daly said in an interview with the Register. "I would say with the cancellation of the first two weeks of the regular season, we're probably in jeopardy of losing about another $140 million."
"So you're talking about 230, 240 to this point that's in jeopardy. That's 240 that we both lose. It's not just the league that's losing that money. The players are sharing on some basis in that. Some unsubstantial basis. Whether that's 57 percent, or whether that's 50 percent or whether that's 47 percent. It's some basis and it's a significant basis."
Meanwhile the sides are meeting again today in New York.
The subject matter is droll and the attitude surrounding the talks themselves is subdued. We'll describe the proceedings to you using the league's own words...
"A session featuring NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr and Special Counsel Steve Fehr lasted approximately an hour, breaking at close to 1 p.m."
"The Union returned to the League office at approximately 3 p.m. The contingent included Steve Fehr and several players. It is believed that playing conditions and health issues were to be the primary topics of conversation in the second meeting Wednesday."
No core economic issues, no official proposals or counter-proposals. The league and the PA continue mowing the lawn while the proverbial house burns down behind them, and all anyone else is left to say is that "at least they're talking."
With two weeks of the regular season cancelled already, including the start of the season tomorrow, there appears to be little urgency from either side and no hope for urgency in the immediate future. Next week the league is expected to cancel another block of games, the size of which may be telling. A bigger block of cancellations could indicate an attempt at pressuring the players, pessimism, or most likely both.
Meanwhile players continue flocking overseas. Many of the European leagues take a break in early November for national team camps, such as SM-Liiga which breaks from November 3rd through the 11th. Depending on the state of the stagnant talks, a second wave of NHLers could bolt for those leagues when they resume in mid-November.