This is all Gary Bettman’s fault that this is happening. It’s also the owners’ faults. And it’s also Mitt Romney’s and Paul Ryan’s faults that it happened.
NEW YORK — The NHL says there will be no bargaining with the players’ union Saturday, leaving nothing to stop a lockout.
The action adds to the labor unrest across American professional sports. This will be the third lockout of a major sports league in 18 months, following ones in the NFL and the NBA.
“We talked with the union this morning and in light of the fact that they have nothing new to offer, or any substantive response to our last proposal, there would be nothing gained by convening a bargaining session at this time,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN.com.
“I’m sure we will keep in touch in the coming days and schedule meetings to the extent they might be useful or appropriate. We are sorry for where we are. Not what we hoped or expected.”
Daly had conferred with players’ association special counsel Steve Fehr, the brother of NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr, to see if there would be face-to-face talks.
“Today we suggested that the parties meet in advance of the owners’ self-imposed deadline of midnight tonight,” said Steve Fehr. “Don Fehr, myself and several players on the negotiating committee were in the city and prepared to meet. The NHL said that it saw no purpose in having a formal meeting. There have been and continue to be private, informal discussions between representatives of both sides.”
This was the third straight day the sides spoke by phone but avoided the negotiating table. By early afternoon it became clear the league was heading to its fourth work stoppage since 1992.
For nearly a year, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has said he will lock out players if a collective bargaining agreement wasn’t set by the time the current one expires.
It now appears unlikely that training camps will open next week. The regular season had been scheduled to begin Oct. 11, but that is also in peril.
While this lockout might not wipe out the whole season as the one in 2004-05 did, a good chunk of games could be lost without productive talks soon.