Fehr: NHLPA needs 'willing negotiating partner'
by Christian Arnold/Correspondent
The National Hockey League cancelled its annual All-Star Game, along with all games through Dec. 14.
The Rangers, Islanders, Devils and Sabres have lost a combined 112 games due to the lockout, and Columbus lost its first chance to host the NHL All-Star Game.
"The reality of losing more regular-season games as well as the 2013 NHL All-Star Weekend in Columbus is extremely disappointing," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement. "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."
On Wednesday, the NHL Players Association made a new proposal that brought the two sides $182 million apart, according to NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr.
“On Wednesday, the players presented a comprehensive proposal, once again moving in the owners’ direction in order to get the game back on the ice,” Fehr said in a statement. “On Wednesday, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said that the league is losing $18-20 million per day during the lockout, therefore two more weeks of cancelled games far exceeds the current economic gap. 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.”
The league can still salvage a 60-game season if they start by Dec. 15. It would take 10 days from the date a deal was reached for the season to begin, allowing two or three days for player to report to their teams and seven days for training camp.
During the 199-95 work stoppage, a deal was reached on Jan. 11 and a 48-game season got underway on Jan. 20.