The NHL goes dark once again

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 16, 2012 - 7:09 AM

All league operations have ceased with the second lockout in the past eight years.

Without a whisper, the National Hockey League has officially padlocked its doors.

The league went quietly into its second lockout in eight years Saturday night, passing through the 11 p.m. expiration of the collective bargaining agreement without a press conference or even a statement.

With no formal negotiating sessions since Wednesday and the NHL and the Players' Association still light years apart on core economics and other critical issues, training camps won't open next weekend and it looks grim that the 2012-13 season will begin as scheduled Oct. 11.

"It doesn't seem like it's something that you should have to go through twice in your career," Wild veteran Matt Cullen said of the work stoppage. "But it's a fact of life. It seemed like the last couple weeks there was not a lot going on, so it was almost a foregone conclusion that there was going to be a lockout.

"Now, let's try to make this as quick as we can."

Sunday morning, 30 arenas will be off limits to hundreds of players. Teams can no longer make contact with them or promote them, meaning television shows like the popular Wild documentary "Becoming Wild" will have to stop airing on Fox Sports North.

On Monday, Wild stakeholders will begin to learn details about what happens to their season tickets. Options will include refunds as games are canceled or keeping their money in their accounts in exchange for what one source said would be "better interest than you can get at any bank in the world."

The Wild has also called an all-staff meeting for Monday. Owner Craig Leipold will announce a transition plan, although team sources say no layoffs are imminent.

However, in a matter of days, the NHL will begin canceling preseason games, meaning revenue streams will begin to strain. The Wild's preseason opener is scheduled for Sept. 26, its regular-season opener Oct. 13.

Every game not played at Xcel Energy Center means a 500-plus-person staff of ushers, security personnel, concierges, concession workers and others won't get a paycheck. St. Paul restaurants and bars will be wounded.

"The people who make it all happen are affected sorely by a lockout," former Wild and NHL forward Todd Fedoruk said on his Twitter account. "Nothing good comes of it."

League wants players to take pay cuts

There's no telling how long this lockout will last. In 2004-05, the NHL, in its pursuit for a salary cap, became the first professional sports league to ever lose a season.

After doors shut in 2004, the NHL and NHLPA didn't talk again for three months.

"I don't get the same feel -- at all -- that we had from last time and I still believe it will get done sooner than later," Cullen said. "It just seems like there's no reason on either side to miss any games over it. Last time, there were some serious battle lines drawn over the salary cap.

"This time it seems like it could really be settled sitting down in a room. As we get closer to training camp and the season opener, hopefully that will be enough pressure on both sides to make something happen."

The NHL, having received 43 percent of $3.3 billion in revenue last season, wants to make that closer to 50-50. It wants players to immediately take pay cuts. The NHLPA has refused.

In an e-mail to the Star Tribune on Saturday afternoon, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said: "Neither side has altered its position on substance in the last 48 hours. We have left it that we will meet when one side or the other is prepared to make a new proposal."

Players won't lose their first paycheck until Oct. 15, although they will receive 8 percent of their 2011-12 salary that date as part of an escrow reimbursement. Commissioner Gary Bettman doesn't understand why players are willing to risk parts or all of their 2012-13 salary instead of cutting the best deal now.

"Even a brief lockout will cost more in terms of lost salary and wages than what we're proposing to do" under a new CBA, Bettman said Thursday.

'Not just about us right now'

"It's about the principle," explained Wild forward Zach Parise, who along with defenseman Ryan Suter was actually paid $10 million of his $12 million 2012-13 salary in an August signing bonus. "It's not just about us right now. It's about guys that will be playing when we retire, it's about setting the framework for them as well."

Cullen added that because the owners feel the last CBA didn't make many teams economically stable, the NHLPA wants to structure a new CBA to help those distressed teams "so every time it expires we don't have to sewer the fans and have a lockout.

"Like, this is dumb. And if we do it again the same exact way, we'll be in the same spot and it's just going to be a black mark on the game."

Starting Sunday, NHL players will have to rent their own ice to keep skating. Several Wild players and Minnesota-based NHLers such as Dustin Byfuglien, Paul Martin and Keith Ballard will skate in St. Louis Park in what Cullen joked would be a "glorified beer league -- without the beer."

But if the lockout extends, Parise and other Wild players have begun to investigate playing in Europe.

"I think these next couple weeks will be really important," Parise said. "Are we going to keep talking or is this going to end?

"We don't want to miss hockey. We want to keep playing, and we're willing to keep playing under the last agreement. They're the ones that aren't. We want things to be done fairly. And what they're asking for, that's not fair."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Team Irvin 32 FINAL
Team Carter 28
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 98 FINAL
Cleveland 108
Dallas 106 FINAL
New Orleans 109
Indiana 106 FINAL
Orlando 99
LA Clippers 120 FINAL
Phoenix 100
Minnesota 100 FINAL
Atlanta 112
Detroit 110 FINAL
Toronto 114
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
San Antonio 101
Boston 111 FINAL
Golden State 114
Washington 117 FINAL
Denver 115
Houston 99 FINAL
LA Lakers 87
Team Toews 17 FINAL
Team Foligno 12
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 70 FINAL
Ohio State 82
Stony Brook 61 FINAL
Binghamton 54
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
UCF 46
Maine 70 FINAL
Hartford 61
Monmouth 64 FINAL
Manhattan 71
Fairfield 67 FINAL
Marist 73
Rowan 48 FINAL
Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 77 FINAL
St Johns 68
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 57 FINAL
Butler 77
NJIT 72 FINAL
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
UMBC 55 FINAL
Albany 69
Niagara 64 FINAL
Iona 87
Notre Dame 81 FINAL
NC State 78
Belmont 63 FINAL
Tennessee St 55
Creighton 50 FINAL
Villanova 71
Northwestern 67 FINAL
Maryland 68
Washington 56 FINAL
Utah 77
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
UMBC 42
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
UCF 61 FINAL
SMU 57
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
James Madison 73 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
Evansville 62
Iona 80 FINAL
Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 58 FINAL
Xavier 54
Creighton 93 FINAL
Marquette 75
Providence 42 FINAL
DePaul 90
Northeastern 77 FINAL
Elon 80
(2) Connecticut 96 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Oregon 78 FINAL
Arizona 81
Bradley 46 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
NC State 49 FINAL
(23) Syracuse 66
(7) Maryland 84 FINAL
Indiana 74
Illinois State 35 FINAL
Missouri State 58
Colorado 68 FINAL
Washington St 73
Tulane 45 FINAL
South Florida 64
(14) Kentucky 83 FINAL
Missouri 69
(9) Oregon State 68 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 57
Vermont 63 FINAL
UMass Lowell 72
Iowa State 58 FINAL
(8) Texas 57
Southern Ill 61 FINAL
Wichita State 80
(15) Duke 74 FINAL
(12) North Carolina 67
Miami-Florida 55 FINAL
(4) Louisville 68
(21) Minnesota 61 FINAL
(25) Rutgers 66
California 72 FINAL
UCLA 57
(11) Stanford 71 FINAL
USC 60

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How optimistic are you about the 2015 Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close