action:article | category:SPORTS0701 | adString:SPORTS0701 | zoneID:40

Home » Sports » Hockey » Bruins/NHL

September 16. 2012 2:16AM

NHL players locked out after failing to find new deal

TORONTO - The National Hockey League slipped quietly into its third lockout in 18 years on Sunday when Saturday's midnight deadline for a new collective bargaining agreement passed without players and owners reaching a deal.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman had warned players the league would lock them out if a new CBA was not place when the current pact expired and the moment fans had dreaded came but without either side making a formal announcement.

The owners and players contacted each other early on Saturday but with no movement from the league or union there was nothing to spark last-ditch talks.

"We spoke today and determined that there was no point in convening a formal bargaining session in light of the fact that neither side is in a position to move off of its last proposal," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement on the league's official website.

"I'm sure we will keep in touch in the coming days and schedule meetings to the extent they might be useful or appropriate. We are sorry for where we are. Not what we hoped or expected."

With memories of the bitter labor dispute that wiped out the entire 2004-05 season still fresh in their minds, frustrated fans appear resigned that the NHL regular season was unlikely to open as scheduled on Oct. 11.

Players were to start reporting to training camps on Sept. 21 but it was now expected that sometime next week Bettman will begin announcing the cancellation of pre-season games.

The NHL denied on Saturday that it had plans in place to lay off staff, but should negotiations drag on, the league and teams will inevitably start trimming personnel and expenses.

Players had already begun looking for safe havens to ride out the labor dispute.

NHL Most Valuable Player Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators defenseman Sergei Gonchar were reportedly in Russia practicing with Magnitogorsk of the Kontinental Hockey League and were expected to suit up for their new teams next week.

The Russian league, which offers attractive salaries, was looming as the destination of choice for many players looking for work but has guidelines in place to ensure teams only opened their doors to the NHL's best.

Sidney Crosby, the NHL's best known and most popular player, had also said if talks stallled he too would explore playing in Europe.

"If you look at both (proposals), yeah they're definitely different," said Crosby. "But if you have a non-bias opinion, you look at the facts, I think our mindset and the direction we're going is one that seems like it's a little bit more fair for both sides.

"I'm a hockey player. I want to keep going," added Crosby.

If the bargaining process followed the same path as before, fans and players could be in for long dreary winter.

After Bettman announced the league was locking out players in 2004 it was three months before the feuding sides even returned to the negotiating table.

The main sticking point in the current dispute, which threatens a fourth work stoppage in 20 years, lay with the two sides at odds over how to divide $3.3 billion in revenue.

The NHL, which enjoyed record-breaking revenues last season, initially wanted players to cut their share of hockey-related revenue to 43 percent from 57 percent but amended that to a six-year deal that starts at 49 percent and drops to 47 percent.

The offer from the NHL Players' Association (NHLPA) was tied to projected future revenues with players willing to take a smaller slice of the pie as the league grows. The union's offer opened with players getting 54.3 percent of revenues and dipping to 52.7 percent.

The NHL and NHL players association (NHLPA) exchanged proposals on Wednesday in New York and then dug in on Thursday displaying their solidarity and outlining their positions in well choreographed news briefings.

The two sides wasted no time rolling out the rhetoric, placing the blame for a lockout and any damage it would cause to the game at each other's feet.

"Hockey is poised to really move in the next three or four years to fundamentally different place than it has been before," said Donald Fehr head of the NHLPA on Thursday. "The question is whether the disagreement we are now having is going to screw that up.

"If so that is bad and unfortunate. We ought to be doing we can to avoid it."


 NH Sports Angle more
Links to news and happenings around the world of sports with a Granite State connection, updated daily.

NASCAR: Who the Vegas wise guys like heading into Loudon

Goalie Danny Tirone to enroll at UNH for second semester after star's suspension for domestic violence

'Smoke' blows into New Hampshire with the law in his rear-view mirror

Man found unconscious at Winchester Speedpark Saturday

Too young to drive, but old enough for NHMS

Police examine speed, possible horseplay in golf cart fatality

Mass. man, 27, dies in golf cart accident at The Links at Outlook

Hanover's Sarah Groff competes in the women's triathlon final during the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Hanover Olympian in spotlight at Las Vegas Super Sprint

FHL makes it official, team planned for Berlin will play in North Adams, Mass. instead

Can NH soccer star Charlie Davies make a comeback?

Inside NIKEs secret sports lab; born in Exeter, now located in Oregon.

Concord Monitor decries gender pay gap in professional tennis

FHL franchise slated for Berlin may go to North Adams, Mass. instead

Eagles' Kelly says he learned his offense by studying defense while at UNH

Former Concord area youth baseball coach sentenced to 30 more years in prison

Maine boxer Brandon Berry making Fight to Educate history

Hudson family, classmates working to keep Alvirne soccer standout Raul Stedile in U.S.

Israel unrest moves meet for NH swim star

Race date for Oxford 250 moved from July to Aug. 30 next year

NH's Groff a highlight for U.S. at ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final

Maine fighters Lamour, Berry on New Hampshire boxing card

Q&A with Matt Bonner as he weighs free agency

Keene State mum on suspension of veteran track coach

Morgan Andrews speaks: Notre Dame star undeterred by U.S. U-20 World Cup snub

MORE

 New Hampshire Events Calendar
    

    SHARE EVENTS FOR PUBLICATION, IT'S FREE!

Upcoming Events

 New Hampshire Business Directory

  

    ADD YOUR BUSINESS TODAY!