By Barry Janoff
November 24, 2012: The NHL is losing $18-$20 million a day, so keep the Zambonis in the garage.
The NHL is moving closer to its second lost season in eight years as the league on Friday (Nov. 23) cancelled games through Dec. 14, and also devalued its second jewel event of the campaign by shuttering the All-Star Game and related events.
The NHL has now cancelled 422 games, representing more than a third of the regular season (34.3%), including the Bridgestone Winter Classic, which had been scheduled for Jan. 1, 2013 at the University of Michigan's 100,000-seat outdoor football stadium.
"The cancellations are necessary due to the absence of a new collective bargaining agreement between the NHL Players' Association and the NHL," the league said in a statement. Refunds are being offered to fans who already purchased tickets to the All-Star Game.
The NHL lockout in 2004-05 resulted in 1,230 lost regular-season games plus the Stanley Cup playoffs. Analysts predict that the league would have to begin play by Christmas Day to ensure a competitive season and the post-season Stanley Cup playoffs, a scheduled the the NBA followed last season when its lockout led to the cancellation of games through Dec. 24.
"The reality of losing more regular-season games as well as the 2013 NHL All-Star Weekend in Columbus is extremely disappointing," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement. Regarding the All-Star Game, which had been scheduled for Jan. 27, 2012, in Nationwide Arena, home of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Dalyt added, "We feel badly for NHL fans and particularly those in Columbus, and we intend to work closely with the Blue Jackets organization to return the NHL All-Star events to Columbus and their fans as quickly as possible."
Due to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, the next NHL All-Star Game would not be scheduled until January 2015, under the conditions that the lockout be resolved and the league and the union again allow players to participate with their respective nations, as they did most recently at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.
"The business is probably losing between $18-$20 million a day and the players are losing between $8-$10 million a day." — NHL commissioner Gary Bettman
The NHL has already indicted that the next Bridgestone Winter Classic would remain at the University of Michigan, with the home team Detroit Red Wings again hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs.
At a press conference prior to Thanksgiving, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman expressed his dissatisfaction at the situation.
"We made a proposal to save an 82-game season and, frankly, we're all mystified we're not playing," Bettman said. "The business is probably losing between $18-$20 million a day and the players are losing between $8-$10 million a day.
"There's a lot about this process that one could scratch their head about," he said.
NHL Lockout Melts Winter Classic
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