NHL Officially Cancels Entire Preseason Schedule

By Matthew Speck

With the lockout entering week two, the NHL has officially cancelled all 2012 preseason games. The NHLPA and NHL will get together once again on Friday and likely through the weekend, but won’t be talking about the core economic issues. Instead, player benefits and pensions will be the priority of negotiations.

With the preseason finally wiped out, the next games that could be cancelled is the NHL regular season opener on October 11th, highlighted by a match-up between the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers. In all likelihood these games will also be cancelled, as both sides have had almost no contact since the lockout took effect.

Both sides are still leaps and bounds apart, but a big problem in the negotiations has been revenue sharing. Many large market teams like the Flyers and New York Rangers are unwilling to share their earnings with smaller market teams including the Phoenix Coyotes.

The NHL has insisted that they will not accept a new deal in which the players refuse to take a pay cut. The players have said they are willing to a pay cut, but (HRR) hockey related revenue remains a big issue. Owners would like the players to receive less than 50% of the hockey related revenue while decreasing their pay. The players received 57% of HRR in the recently expired CBA, in which the NHL brought in substantial earnings while growing the league’s worldwide brand.

Other important issues included in the negotiations concentrate on limiting player contract lengths, increasing the length of entry level contracts and when players can become unrestricted free agents.

The next cancellation of games will likely occur a week before the next slate of games, signaling October 4th as a likely cancellation date.

You can follow Matthew on twitter @m_speck and email him at mspeck21@yahoo.com with any questions or comments.

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