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.
BRIGHTON -- The Bruins took Wednesday off and returned Thursday with assurances they weren’t thinking about history repeating itself for a third straight season.
The easy parallels are there, of course.
The Bruins lost 9 of their final 14 games and missed the playoffs by a point two years ago. Last season they went a pathetic 3-8-1 in the final 12 games and once again missed the postseason by a single point.
So their recent three-game losing streak has set off some warning bells and whistles, as has the fact that the Toronto Maple Leafs have passed them and pushed the B’s into the second wild-card position. Boston holds a slim two-point lead over the New York Islanders for that final playoff position, and is facing huge games against the Tampa Bay Lightning (tonight) and the Isles (Saturday).
So with all that in mind, has interim coach Bruce Cassidy’s message changed at all to his players?
“These are teams [close to the Bruins to the standings, so the games] get more magnified and rightfully so,” said Cassidy. “We accept that and we know what’s at stake. The last two didn’t go the way we wanted them to, but the things we do well, we need to keep doing well. We’ve created some looks at the net. We’re generating some offense. We need to finish a little better, and those pockets of the game that get away from us . . . we need to minimize those. We had a few too many of those [moments] against Ottawa.
“We’re aware of it. We know who won and who lost last night. But we need to take care of our business. If we do, we’ll be fine. We really will. If we take of our business, it doesn’t matter what this team does or what that team does.
"That’s a fact. That’s the message. It’s quite simple. If we take care of business, we’ll be fine. If we don’t, then we’re hoping.”
Clearly taking care of their business includes dispatching both the Lightning and the Islanders. Hoping is what the Bruins ended up doing in each of the previous two seasons, and it left them fully out of luck once the music stopped.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while having never said “break a leg” for good luck to fellow Stoneham, Mass., native Nancy Kerrigan on social media, or otherwise.
*A brief video history of Sidney Crosby spearing, or otherwise targeting, opponents in the crotches prepared with care and thought by the Puck Daddy himself, Greg Wyshynski.
*Elliotte Friedman has his 30 thoughts for the week and a few of them centered around new Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy.
*Could the NBA’s star-resting phenomenon reach into the NHL when it comes to getting in-season time off for the superstars?
*Give the Leafs credit because they picked up coach Mike Babcock when he made a rare screw-up against the Blue Jackets.
*Check out the sick USA/Russia skating kicks on Alex Ovechkin, who had them custom made for a charity event.
*Speaking of Ovechkin, could T.J. Oshie and not Ovechkin actually lead the Capitals in scoring this season?
*For something completely different: Hide the women and children, the Scorpions and Megadeath are going on a North American tour together.