As the weekend begins, this much is known: the NHL and NHLPAs talks Thursday ended in acrimonious fashion, and there will be no hockey through Nov. 1.
Even with all that, players remain optimistic a deal can be done.
The league canceled another round of games on Friday, this time through Nov. 1. Yes, it was another round of tough news, but hardly unexpected. There was no way there would have been a new collective bargaining agreement in place soon enough to play games Oct. 25 through the first of November. The league stopped short of that Nov. 2 date they were hoping, at least as of earlier this week, would be the start of a salvaged 82-game season.
And while there will be no hockey through the rest of October, players hope talks will resume soon.
As players, were trying to stay positive and not overreact to the lack of progress yesterday, Jonathan Toews said after practice on Friday. Were still confident the proposals we came up with were very positive and effective for both sides. Well go with that and see what happens next week. As long as were talking, somethings going to happen.
The league proposed its 50-50 deal on Tuesday; and on Thursday the players association responded with three proposals of their own all of which got to 50-50 at some point during the proposal term. NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr said the groups third option began immediately at 50-50, as long as owners honored players existing contracts. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly later disputed the NHLPAs claims on its third proposal, saying it was most likely a 56- to 57-percent deal, not 50-50.
Talks stalled quickly, and the dour tones of both commissioner Gary Bettman and Fehr snuffed out any developed optimism.
Its to be expected. Its not going to be one of those things where, after an offer, were going to lay down or after our proposal theyre going to lay down, Patrick Kane said. But you still have to look at the positive. Somethings out there; somethings being worked on to be negotiated. You cant get too up and down in this process.
Kane was just about set to sign with a European team earlier this week, changing his mind when it looked like talks could lead to something. Kane is still planning on playing in the Champs for Charity game, which former Blackhawks teammate Adam Burish helped organize, on Oct. 26. After that game, and depending on whats happening between the league and NHLPA, Kane may revisit his European options.
So the players will practice on while the league and NHLPA brass, hopefully, keep trying to work something out. Being ready, especially physically, wont be an issue for most of the players; theyve been skating on a regular basis here.
It all comes down to when things are worked out off the ice.
We know (Thursday) wasnt the best day, said Toews, who was in those meetings in Toronto. It doesnt mean we dont keep moving forward and keep working toward trying to get where we want to go.