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.
CHICAGO – Don Sweeney said the Bruins knew and expected they were going to lose one of three players in the NHL expansion draft, and it’s pretty clear it was going to be Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller or Colin Miller leaving the team. The B’s took Kevan Miller out of the equation by leaving him on the protection list after a strong season while also playing some of his best hockey in the playoffs.
That left McQuaid and Miller with each of the two D-men standing an equal chance of getting selected by the Vegas Golden Knights, and the 24-year-old puck-moving Miller going to Vegas for the time being. It remains to be seen if Miller sticks with the Golden Knights, or if there is an eventual plan to flip him elsewhere like perhaps an interested party in Toronto.
Sweeney said the Bruins didn’t want to lose a player with potential like Miller, but it’s also true that he would have been stuck behind younger, better D-men on the depth chart with Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo as better right-handed options.
“It was an interesting process to go through. It was hard at times because you felt like other teams were able to find deals to keep their team together while you felt vulnerable in that regard,” said Sweeney at the B’s team hotel in Chicago during a Thursday availability with the media. “You knew you were going to lose a good player. You knew they had targeted three players on our team that we felt they would target, and unfortunately we’re losing a good, young player.
“We thought highly of Colin. He was part of a big trade for us and we wish him well moving forward. We thank for him doing his part with the organization. We lost a good player.”
Clearly, the Bruins lost a defenseman with skills and youth on his side, but it’s also a young guy that hasn’t put it all together yet while never posting more than 16 points in each of his two seasons with the Black and Gold. Perhaps he will put together the offensive package at his next landing spot after showing flashes in Boston over the last two years, but that unknown factor while no longer being considered a prospect is the reason he didn’t find himself on the protected D list along with Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug.
The Bruins released their schedule for the 2017-18 season Thursday, with their campaign beginning at TD Garden on Oct. 5 against the Predators.
Two things stand out in Boston’s schedule. Eleven of their final 15 games are on the road, and they don’t play the Canadiens until mid-January.
Then, when the B’s and Habs do finally meet, they play three times in an eight-day span. The rivals face each other Jan. 13 in Montreal, Jan. 17 in Boston and Jan. 20 in Montreal. The Bruins’ final regular-season meeting with the Habs is March 3.
To see the full schedule, click here.