It was radio silence on the NHL front Thursday. The deadline imposed by the NHL for the players to accept their last offer of a collective-bargaining agreement went by the boards without any discussions, and the league is poised to trim more games from the regular-season schedule Friday.
The NHL did not issue a statement but was to inform the NHLPA that last week's offer, which proposed a 50-50 split in revenues and some elements that the players found restrictive, now is off the table, essentially wiping out the chances of a full 82-game season.
The proposal, if accepted, would have allowed training camps to start Friday and the first game to be played Nov. 2.
Instead, the NHL will revise its bargaining position and determine how many more games to scrap in order to put pressure on the players to make a new proposal as well. "Back to the drawing board," deputy commissioner Bill Daly said.
If the NHL chooses to cancel the rest of the November schedule, that's 191 more games, or just over 26 percent of the season. The league could chop two weeks, with a little less impact, and if there is movement toward an agreement in the next few weeks, a shortened season could begin Thanksgiving weekend, which kicks off with NBC's first telecast of the season, Rangers at Boston, on Friday, Nov. 23.
There is no indication at this point that the Winter Classic, scheduled for Jan. 1 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings at Michigan Stadium, will be canceled Friday, although commissioner Gary Bettman said Wednesday that a decision will have to be made soon because of the extensive preparations necessary.