Thursday is the deadline NHL commissioner Gary Bettman set for a new collective bargaining agreement to be reached in order to save a full 82-game schedule that would start on Nov. 2.
But on Wednesday, a full season was looking very unlikely with no new bargaining sessions scheduled.
The Canadian Press reported that an invitation from the NHL Players’ Association to reopen talks “without preconditions” Wednesday was quickly denied by the NHL.
The league saw little value in sitting down together if neither side was prepared to offer something new.
“They have indicated a willingness to meet, but they also told us they had very little interest in the proposal we tabled last Tuesday,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly told The Canadian Press. “(They) also said they weren’t making a new proposal. What would we be meeting about?”
You can read more by clicking here.
There was other big news in the NHL Wednesday as the New York Islanders announced they will be moving to Brooklyn’s Barclay Center, starting with the 2015-16 season.
“Hello Brooklyn!” Islanders owner Charles Wang said as he made the announcement at a news conference Wednesday, adding the lease agreement is for 25 years. You can read more by clicking here.
The NBA’s New Jersey Nets have also moved to Barclay Center and have become the Brooklyn Nets. A courtside ticket to their home opener on Nov. 1 against the New York Knicks costs a whopping $8,100. To put that in perspective, the top ticket for the Canadiens this season – if the lockout ever ends – costs $418 for a seat in the Platinum section for an “Optimum” game. Read more about the Nets tickets by clicking here.
Meanwhile, the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs saw their record fall to 2-2 with a 3-1 road loss to the Rochester Americans on Tuesday night. Michael Bournival scored the lone Bulldogs goal and Peter Delmas stopped 29 shots. The Bulldogs could not score on their two power plays.
The Bulldogs are back in action Friday in Hamilton against the Toronto Marlies in a 7:30 p.m. start. All Bulldogs games during the month of October will be broadcast on Montreal’s TSN Radio 690. Fans can also listen to and watch all ‘Dogs games online at hamiltonbulldogs.com.
The Bulldogs will be without Louis Leblanc and goaltender Cedrick Desjardins, who are both injured. Leblanc, who was the Canadiens’ first-round draft pick in 2009, scored two goals in a 4-1 win over Toronto last Friday but suffered an ankle injury the following night in Toronto. There’s no timetable on his return, but Bulldogs coach Sylvain Lefebvre told The Gazette’s Pat Hickey he’ll need a couple of weeks to get back up to speed.
Hickey will be in Hamilton this weekend for Friday’s game and Sunday’s game against Abbotsford. Hickey will also have a story on Hamilton coach Sylvain Lefebvre in Thursday’s Hockey Inside/Out section of The Gazette (and on HIO) and another one on forward Darryl Boyce, a 28-year-old free-agent signing who knows he’s not a superstar but believes there’s a place for him in the NHL..
“The main thing Darryl brings to the team is leadership,” Lefebvre told Hickey. “We’ve been using him on a line with Michael Blunden and Louis Leblanc and now that Leblanc is hurt, we’ve moved (Joonas) Nittinen in there. Boyce brings some intangibles. He plays with some grit and he provides a good example for our younger players.”
You can see an example of his grit in the video below.
Thursday’s HIO section will also have a feature by Brenda Branswell on the new movie The Last Gladiators, focusing on the life of former Canadiens enforcer Chris Nilan, and a Dave Stubbs feature on former Boston Bruin Derek Sanderson, who was in town this week promoting his new autobiography, Crossing The Line: The Outrageous Story of a Hockey Original . Hickey will also have a review of a new book about former Canadiens coach Pat Burns titled Coach: The Pat Burns Story.
You can read sports editor Stu Cowan’s column on another new book about the Canadiens’ last Stanley Cup season titled A Season in Time: Super Super Mario, Killer, St. Patrick, the Great One, and the Unforgettable 1992-93 NHL Season, by clicking here.