With negotiations to end the NHL lockout at an impasse, the league Friday canceled another week of regular-season games, from Oct. 25 through Nov. 1. That 53-game slate included the Rangers' home opener the first of November against Dallas and three road games in October. Three more Islanders games were scrapped, bringing the total lost for the local teams to nine each.
Because more games weren't lopped off, league executives apparently still hope a deal on a new contract with the Players Association can be reached to preserve a Nov. 2 start date, with a condensed schedule. The NHL could have axed two weeks or more, but that would have terminated any chance of having an 82-game season, which still is possible.
These canceled games -- which bring the total lost to 135 -- wouldn't have been played on those dates even if there were a deal by Oct. 25. Oct. 26 was projected as the start of training camps, so this just made it official.
An NHL offer remains on the table, although commissioner Gary Bettman rejected three alternatives provided by the union on Thursday in Toronto. If there is no deal by late next week, the league is expected to wipe out another string of games.
The Islanders were scheduled to host Toronto on Oct. 26, play in Boston on Oct. 27 and return home to face Ottawa on Oct. 30. The Rangers were to be at Pittsburgh Oct. 25, at Carolina Oct. 26 and at Ottawa Oct. 28.
The two sides in the months-long dispute did agree on something yesterday: the amount of escrow to be paid to players this month based on last season's revenues, 7.98 percent of the 8.5 percent of salaries they set aside at the beginning of last season. Players missed their first scheduled twice-monthly paycheck Oct. 15, four days' worth, and will miss a full paycheck Oct. 30.