Lots of items floating around the rinks on Black Friday, which just got blacker with the announcement the NHL is canceling all games through December 14 -- and the All-Star Weekend for late January in Columbus.
The cancellations take the total number of games lost to the lockout up to 422, or 34.3 percent of the schedule. The Sabres have now had 27 games wiped off the original schedule (15 at home).
Seven more games were lost today (home against San Jose, Montreal, Ottawa, Chicago and road against Boston, Toronto and Montreal). Of course, if there's a season, a completely new schedule is going to have to be drawn up anyway at this point.
"The reality of losing more regular-season games as well as the 2013 NHL All-Star Weekend in Columbus is extremely disappointing," said NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. "We feel badly for NHL fans and particularly those in Columbus, and we intend to work closely with the Blue Jackets organization to return the NHL All-Star events to Columbus and their fans as quickly as possible."
There is not expected to be an All-Star Game in 2014 because of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, so Columbus' next chance appears to be 2015.
3:25 p.m. update -- Statement from NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr: "On Wednesday, the players presented a comprehensive proposal, once again moving in the owners’ direction in order to get the game back on the ice. The gap that remains on the core economic issues is $182 million. On Wednesday, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said that the league is losing $18-20 million per day during the lockout, therefore two more weeks of cancelled games far exceeds the current economic gap. It makes the NHL’s announcement of further game cancellations, including the 2013 All-Star Weekend, all the more unnecessary, and disappointing for all hockey fans – especially those in Columbus. The players remain ready to negotiate but we require a willing negotiating partner.”
---Daly and NHL Special Counsel Steve Fehr continued to paint a bleak picture of things during separate interviews today on the FAN 590 in Toronto. (Go here for the audio of both interviews). There are no new meetings scheduled, no new offers apparently coming from either side.
Said Fehr: "We moved a couple of miles, and they moved a couple of inches. If it was Thanksgiving dinner, they gave us a relish tray but no turkey."
Daly, meanwhile, spent a good portion of his interview talking about the potential of the union using decertification as a tactic to perhaps speed things to a solution. Daly called it "a time-consuming process that would likely lead to the end of the season.”
Who was the warning clearly directed to? Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller, who e-mailed the Toronto Globe and Mail (the national newspaper of Canada) late Thursday night with his thoughts that endorsed that direction.
"I am tired of the disregard and the ego,” Miller wrote in part. “Our fans and sponsors are alienated, and this is hurting the game. This process has more of the appearance of brand suicide than a negotiation.”
Confirmed Daly today: "I guess I underestimated the magnitude of the gulf between us. We continue to be far apart."
---Better news department: Sabres assistant coach Teppo Numminen has been named to the 2013 class of the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame. Others named include Paul Henderson, Mats Sundin and Peter Forsberg.