The NHL is expected to ax more of its 2012-2013 schedule Thursday or Friday.
The players who won't accept immediate paycuts will begin to take immediate, unretrievable paycuts Fri. when #NHL cancels chunk of schedule— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) October 25, 2012
Gary Bettman said last week that today, Thursday, October 25th, was the deadline to get a new CBA in place and still have an 82 game season.
The deadline has come, and is quickly going, with nary a comment from either side or a meeting planned. As a response most feel that tomorrow a significant chunk of season will be irrevocably cancelled, with the Winter Classic on the chopping block as early as the next two weeks.
To quote Puck Daddy yesterday, "The NHL will cancel it before the NHLPA can use it as a pressure point." So don't think that deadline will move heats and minds on the NHL board of governors either.
"We are and continue to be ready to meet to discuss how to resolve our remaining differences, with no preconditions," Don Fehr said this week. "For whatever reason, the owners are not. At the same time they are refusing to meet, they are winding the clock down to yet another artificial deadline they created."
Attention will turn to salvaging a partial season, though no pressure points or deadline exist moving forward to frame such a series of events. One NHL executive told the Toronto Sun that having a partial season gets tricky...
"For one, you have a lot of teams that now share their building with basketball and can't use the dates they want. Look at the Los Angeles Kings - there are two NBA teams also in there at the Staples Center."
"If it's a few games lost this year, we could have just added them to the end of the schedule and kept the rest intact," added the exec. "Any further stoppages, then it gets complicated."
The NBA somehow made it work last year starting on Christmas day.
So make it work.
All along the refrain has been that these guys "aren't crazy enough to nuke another season." It's a statement that's been made countless times in the preceding months, and now it's starting to get re-thought in the face of tomorrow's cancellations.
The NHL has been loathe to cancel games in large chunks, for real want of a season or for PR reasons. Is tomorrow the day they cancel a months worth? More?
By the time they cancel them all, will there be anyone left to care?