At best, it appears the NHL will have a shortened 2012-13 season.
The NHL’s deadline to have a new collective bargaining agreement in place that would allow it to play a full 82-game season is Thursday. Without a deal, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly reiterated, the possibility of a full season will be eliminated despite recent speculation about flexibility with that date.
“The opportunity to play an 82-game season will be lost permanently if we are not in a position to drop the puck on November 2,” Daly wrote in an email to The Post Wednesday. “There is no wiggle room on this one.”
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, speaking at Barclays Center in Brooklyn for the announcement that the New York Islanders would relocate there in 2015, offered a similar sentiment when questioned about the likelihood of a full season.
“Unfortunately, it looks like an 82-game schedule will not be a reality,” Bettman said.
The two sides exchanged proposals last week, the most recent meeting coming on Oct. 18 in Toronto, where the NHLPA presented three offers that were rejected by league officials within 10 minutes.
The NHL and the players’ union have not met since, nor is there a meeting scheduled before the deadline passes. On Tuesday, the NHLPA said it would be willing to meet at any time as long as there were no preconditions in place, but the NHL is not interested in another session unless the union is willing to work off the league’s most recent proposal or present a new one.
It’s the latest impasse in these labor negotiations and possibly a sign that the two sides may be headed into a prolonged stalemate.
“Unfortunately, given where the Union stands on our proposal from last Tuesday, I fail to see a basis on which negotiations can productively continue in the short term,” Daly wrote. “It will require us to go back and give some thought as to how best to go from here. We thought a 50-50 deal with a mechanism to repay players for the reduced value of their contracts in the early years of the CBA would be of at least some interest to the players. Apparently, it wasn’t.”
Said Bettman: “There are just some times where you need to take time off because it’s clear that you can’t do anything to move the process forward and we’re at one of those points right now because we gave our very best offer.”
Notable NHL news and links:
The Islanders will keep their name and logo, and the NHL isn’t worried about the size of the arena. Barclays Center seats roughly 14,500 for hockey but Bettman said they expect to increase capacity to 15,015-plus in the near future.
• Via the Columbus Dispatch, the Blue Jackets have hired John Davidson as their president of hockey operations. It’s an important hire for Columbus and one that is drawing plenty of praise around the hockey community. Davidson helped revitalize the St. Louis Blues in recent years and many hope he can do the same for Columbus.
• Jason Chimera with an interesting analogy of the owners’ methods during the lockout to CSN Washington: “Maybe they’re looking at the season like an advent calendar – like Christmas is coming and they’re taking their chocolates out one day at a time. And when the big chocolate comes they make a proposal.”