With no progress in labor negotiations between the NHL and the NHLPA, the league canceled the first two weeks of the regular season on Thursday, the 19th day of the lockout. The 2012-13 regular season was slated to open on Oct. 11.
Eighty-two games were canceled, including seven Capitals contests. The NHL’s announcement, however, left open the possibility of salvaging a full 82-game season.
If the two sides can come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement quickly, it’s possible the contests could be rescheduled. Reached via e-mail, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said that it is “really tough to say” when there would need to be progress in the negotiations in order to play a full season.
“When we get to that point, we will have to reconfigure with the input and agreement of the Players’ Association,” Daly wrote in an e-mail. “There will be a lot of relevant considerations, I’m sure, including what can be done consistent with the health and safety of the Players.”
NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr sent out the following statement after the league’s announcement:
“The decision to cancel the first two weeks of the NHL season is the unilateral choice of the NHL owners. If the owners truly cared about the game and the fans, they would lift the lockout and allow the season to begin on time while negotiations continue. A lockout should be the last resort in bargaining, not the strategy of first resort. For nearly 20 years, the owners have elected to lock-out the players in an effort to secure massive concessions. Nevertheless, the players remain committed to playing hockey while the parties work to reach a deal that is fair for both sides. We hope we will soon have a willing negotiating partner.”
Now that regular season games are being canned, will your take on the labor strife change? Are you planning to boycott the NHL, or perhaps scheduling a trip to Hershey? Are you more frustrated now than you were during the 2004-05 lockout?
Here’s the full list of canceled Caps games:
Oct. 12 vs. New Jersey
Oct. 13 at Ottawa
Oct. 15 vs. Florida
Oct. 17 vs. Toronto
Oct. 19 vs. Winnipeg
Oct. 20 at Montreal
Oct. 23 at Winnipeg
As the stalemate between the two sides drags on with no end in sight, more players are finding work elsewhere. More than 110 NHL players have signed in Europe, including Capitals Alex Ovechkin, Michal Neuvirth and Brooks Laich. Forward Wojtek Wolski said in a text message Thursday that he plans on leaving in a week to play for KH Sanok in the Polish league.
Don’t forget that you can keep track of the Capitals during the lockout with our interactive map.