August 17, 2012

NHL lockout looms as talks hit wall

Players and owners can't even agree on core issues and won't meet again until next Wednesday.

The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

Donald Fehr
click image to enlarge

Donald Fehr

Gary Bettman
click image to enlarge

Gary Bettman

One thing the labor situation has not disturbed is new contracts this summer. Whether it's been in free agency or teams simply locking up their own players, new deals are surfacing every week. On Thursday, the Flyers gave forward Wayne Simmonds a new six-year pact to remain in Philadelphia.

"All the players are obviously going to show up if we're ready to play the season. But by Sept. 15, if a deal's not reached, I'm not too sure," Simmonds said. "This is my first time going through this and I'm really not too familiar with the process. But from all the players' accounts, we want to play. We're ready to start."

Which brings up a good point. If they don't start with the NHL, will players head overseas?

"I haven't started looking as of yet. Obviously, I'm hoping there's a season," Simmonds said. "I'm sure as it comes closer, I'll speak to my agent about that and see where things go from there."

The Red Wings, for one, perhaps see the writing on the wall. On Thursday, Detroit General Manager Ken Holland canceled the team's annual prospects tournament in which seven other teams were slated to play in: the Sabres, Hurricanes, Blue Jackets, Stars, Wild, Rangers and Blues.

"Due to the uncertainty surrounding the collective bargaining agreement and the advance commitments required from the various parties," Holland said, "we have determined that it is in everyone's best interest to cancel."

The offer from Fehr this week was designed on the premise that the players would give up revenue for three years -- the system would revert back to the current rules in the fourth -- so that the NHL could work on getting its struggling teams on stable footing.

 

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