Games wiped out through January 14 by lockout
NEW YORK (AFP) –
The National Hockey League wiped out two more weeks of scheduled regular-season games on Thursday due to the ongoing lockout in a money dispute with players, having now lost 625 games through January 14.
The missed games from when the NHL season should have started amount to 50.8 percent of the regular season and take the league to the brink of missing a second full campaign in eight years over financial issues.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told a Canadian radio station earlier this week that he thinks the sides have until mid-January to strike a deal to be able to salvage even a shortened season.
The NHL missed the entire 2004-2005 season in a similar financial dispute but after making a deal to resume play, and reaching record revenues levels, are unable to agree on how to divide $3.3 billion in annual revenues.
A prior collective bargaining agreement expired last September.
The NHL Players Association is considering decertifying to allow players to file anti-trust lawsuits against NHL club owners. Similar moves were made in recent NBA and National Football League disputes that led to agreements.
The league had earlier wiped out the Winter Classic, an outdoor game between Detroit and Toronto in Ann Arbor, Michigan, set for January 1 that had been expected to draw a record crowd of more than 100,000 spectators.
Should the sides reach a deal, they could stretch the regular season — typically 82 games per club — to the end of April and still stage two months of playoffs and finish in June as commissioner Gary Bettman has said must be done in any shortened season.