NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman Claims 82-Game Season Unrealistic
New York, NY
With the union not responding to the league's latest offer as the deadline approaches, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the possibility of saving an 82-game season is now bleak.
"Unfortunately, it looks like an 82-game season is not going to be a reality," Bettman said at a news conference from Brooklyn's Barclays Center announcing the Islanders' relocation starting with the 2015-16 season.
"The union has chosen not to engage on our proposal or to make a new proposal of their own. Things seem to be not progressing the way we would like. It's disappointing," Bettman added.
The league made its latest proposal to the NHL Player Association Tuesday, including a 50-50 revenue split and a provision to make whole existing player contracts by employing deferred payments.
The union responded two days later with a trio of its own offers. However, all three were rejected by the league within 10 minutes.
Last week, Bettman said that if a deal could be in place by Thursday, teams would be able to have a one-week training camp prior to the season opening Nov. 2.
"We made our very best offer, and that offer was contingent upon playing an 82-game season, for better or for worse so I think things, in some respects, may get more difficult," Bettman said.
The union requested a formal meeting with the league Tuesday night but was rejected. The NHL maintained that if the NHLPA was unwilling to work off the league's last proposal, then a meeting wasn't necessary.
Bettman said he had no indication as to when the league and union would resume negotiations.
According to a source, there will be a significant round of cancellations by the end of this week if no progress is made, adding that the league's marquee moneymaker -- the Winter Classic - could also be shelved soon.
"I'm not going to give you an exact timetable, but at some point in November we will have to commit many millions of dollars to get ready for the Winter Classic, so if there's still uncertainty, we're going to have to make a decision," Bettman said.
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