The National Hockey League announced today that all games through November 30th have been cancelled. For the Predators, that means the following games have been affected:
November 2 at Chicago
November 6 at Winnipeg
November 8 vs. Calgary
November 10 vs. St. Louis
November 13 vs. Los Angeles
November 15 vs. NY Islanders
November 17 at St. Louis
November 19 at Montreal
November 21 vs. Dallas
November 23 at Columbus
November 24 vs. Columbus
November 27 vs. Edmonton
November 29 vs. NY Rangers
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. The NHL and NHLPA were unable to meet face to face for negotiations this week, which made this cancellation of games inevitable. But still, it’s a disappointment for the league and its players that an 82-game season could not be saved.
“This whole process has been frustrating,” Predators center Paul Gaustad said Thursday. “As a hockey player you want to play, but there are other sides to it. As a union we want to have a deal that is fair for both sides. We’ve made some progress these last couple weeks and hopefully it continues to progress.
“It’s unfortunate for the fans, because they suffer. They really do support us tremendously.”
Goaltender Chris Mason mentioned that he has been getting calls and texts from friends and family wanting to know when the season will finally commence.
“You get calls all the time with them saying ‘Let’s get going,’” he said.
“It’s hard because it’s a no win situation. People say ‘You guys make a lot of money, you’re only playing a game’ and that kind of stuff. We all understand that – believe me. Everyone on the [conference] calls legitimately want a fair deal. Right now we’re negotiating how much [money] we’re going to give up on our part – and that’s fine, we’re willing to do that so we have a healthy league. … If I was on the outside looking in I’d probably be saying the same things.”
For Mason, the optimism from last week is starting to wane.
“I know [the NHLPA] have made efforts ever since last Thursday to start negotiating and they have refused to talk and say there is nothing to talk about,” he said. “They are taking a hard stance and it’s annoying and frustrating for everyone.”
Now that the Winter Classic, the NHL’s premier event, is in danger, there is a feeling that the entire season could be in doubt. Gaustad believes there will eventually be games played this season, and Mason agrees.
“I see no reason for there to be a lost season. We just need a willing partner in the negotiation,” said Mason. “When the commissioner’s first negotiating strategy is to lock out the players, it gets old and it’s kind of embarrassing. We didn’t want to lock out. We’re hockey players, we want to play hockey. They’re businessmen, they’re trying to get the most money for their business.”