The NHL estimated Tuesday that the loss of the preseason has cost about $100 million in revenue, but the league and NHLPA did nothing to stop the bleeding from the 16-day-old lockout.
With talks on the major economic issues going nowhere, the clock is ticking toward the widely anticipated cancellation of next week's scheduled opening-night games and dozens more this month.
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"It's something [canceling games] we have to focus on short term," said deputy commissioner Bill Daly, who reported "no progress" after two hours of discussions in Manhattan. "We're still focused on doing what we can to minimize the damage. By losing our preseason, we've probably done close to $100 million in damage to the business that's not going to be recouped and that's going to cost both sides."
In a pointed response, Donald Fehr, the union's executive director, said "the definition of no progress that comes out of the NHL offices seems to be: 'They didn't give us what we want yet.' Progress is giving them what they want; it's not finding a way to come to a mutually acceptable understanding."
Fehr, who said he hoped talks would resume later this week, noted that the $100-million figure was "before you don't count the fact that they don't have all the expenses they would have had if they would've had to put on the games . . . This is a lockout they decided to have; it was a lockout of choice, there was no reason for it. Negotiations could still be ongoing. So if there's a problem, maybe somebody ought to look in the mirror over there."
Daly has said the next movement on the key issue, dividing $3 billion in hockey-related revenues, needs to come from the players.
Should the league postpone or cancel the first two weeks of the season, from Oct. 11 through Oct. 25, 90 games would be affected. The Islanders are scheduled to play six, three at home (Oct. 13 against the Flyers, Oct. 20 against the Sabres and Oct. 22 against the Panthers) and three away. All six Rangers games are away games, due to the renovations at Madison Square Garden: Oct. 12 in Los Angeles, Oct. 15 in San Jose, Oct. 17 in Newark, Oct. 19 in Buffalo, Oct. 23 in Tampa and Oct. 25 in Pittsburgh.
"These are all continuing decisions the owners are making," Fehr said. "If they choose to cancel regular-season games and to do it in significant blocks, rather than as little as possible, that's what they'll do."