No surprise here, folks. The NHL, unable to reach any sort of resolution with the NHLPA, has moved forward with the cancellation of the first two weeks of the NHL season. A quick glance at blues.nhl.com's schedule page shows a very truncated October schedule of just three games: October 25th against the Colorado Avalanche, October 27th against the Dallas Stars, and October 28th against the Los Angeles Kings (which is scheduled for national broadcast on the NBC Sports Network). Gone are games like the NHL opener on October 11th against the Avs that was part of the broadcast on NBCSN, the October 13th Nashville Predators' home opener, a home game against the Detroit Red Wings, a home game against the Minnesota Wild, and a home game against the Blues' rival, the Chicago Blackhawks. Those are all some very major draws.
The NHL and NHLPA both released statements regarding the cancellation of the games. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly released this statement concerning the league's decision:
"We were extremely disappointed to have to make today's announcement. The game deserves better, the fans deserve better and the people who derive income from their connection to the NHL deserve better.
"We remain committed to doing everything in our power to forge an agreement that is fair to the players, fair to the teams and good for our fans. "This is not about 'winning' or 'losing' a negotiation. This is about finding a solution that preserves the long-term health and stability of the League and the game.
"We are committed to getting this done."
The head of the NHLPA, Donald Fehr, had this counterpoint:
"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. 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."
It doesn't take a high level of inference skills to realize that this is going to take a while. The NHL and the NHLPA will not be meeting again until next week, and it doesn't seem like either side is willing to budge.
Come on, people. Every day's delay deprives Blues fans of Vladimir Tarasenko highlight reel goals. Get something done.