NEW YORK (AP) — The NHL's next cuts will be the deepest and most costly.
With only days remaining to make a deal with the players' association on a new collective bargaining agreement that will allow for a full hockey season, the NHL canceled another week of games Friday.
A day after the NHL turned down three counterproposals from players, the league wiped out 53 more games. A total of 135 games through Nov. 1 have been scratched, which amounts to 11 percent of the season.
"As expected," New York Rangers goalie Martin Biron told The Associated Press in a text message. "We continue to work hard to find an agreement and get back to playing hockey."
These lost games could still become mere postponements. If a new contract is reached with the union by Thursday, the NHL will be able to get the season under way on Nov. 2, and each team will play all 82 games after a weeklong training camp.
However, a quick settlement to end the lockout sure seems like a longshot. Without a new deal, more games will be eliminated along with the hope of playing a full season.
In its third lockout since 1994, the NHL is sticking to its most recent proposal that stated an 82-game-per-team schedule could be played if the season begins by Nov. 2. Two weeks ago, the league called off 82 games from Oct. 11-24.
On Thursday, the union rejected the NHL's proposal made two days earlier that offered a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenues and ensured a full regular-season schedule. In brief talks, the players countered with a trio of offers that were, in turn, quickly dismissed by the league.
"We are disappointed that the NHL has canceled more games as a result of the owners' lockout," said former player Mathieu Schneider, now the NHLPA special assistant to the executive director. "The players made another major move in the negotiations this week in an effort to end the lockout, by presenting the owners with a proposal that gets to a 50-50 split of revenues.