The NHL made the announcement everybody sensed was coming, but it was disappointing nonetheless.
Without a collective bargaining agreement in place, the NHL announced that all regular season games through Oct. 24 have officially been cancelled as a result of the lockout.
It was 82 regular season games in all and basically included the first two weeks of the schedule. It wiped out the first six games of the Boston Bruins schedule including back-to-back games against the arch-rival Montreal Canadiens. The Bs regular season was set to start on the road against the Philadelphia Flyers on Oct. 11.
One piece of good news: league sources have indicated to CSNNE.com that the NHL can still compute an 82-game schedule as late as the first week of November, so there is still hope for a full NHL regular season schedule. But that hope is offset by the fact that the lockout has gone on for 20 days, and the NHLNHLPA have officially negotiated in only four of those days with no planned talks scheduled the rest of this week.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly sent out a statement expressing his disappointment that its come to the second work stoppage in the last eight years, and the third during Gary Bettmans tenure as NHL commissioner.
"It was an extremely disappointing but necessary decision. There is simply not enough days left to open the regular season on time. We remain committed to continuing to work hard to try to figure something out that will result in the breakthrough we need to get this agreement done and behind us, said Daly in a prepared statement. But obviously, we haven't been able to do that yet. And for better or worse, we need a negotiating partner to make that happen."
The NHLPA had their own strongly-worded statement and threw the work stoppage at the feet of the NHL owners, and PA Executive Director Donald Fehr questioned just how strongly the NHL's Board of Governors loves the game while imposing lockout after lockout during CBA negotiations.
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," said Fehr in a statement. "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.