Driving around town on Wednesday afternoon, I had the opportunity to listen to the NHL channel on satellite radio. Specifically, the CBC’s Gord Stellick and Elliotte Friedman interviewed Bill Daly, commissioner Gary Bettman’s right-hand man at the National Hockey League.
The interview was notable for Friedman’s pinning down of Daly with an unequivocal “Yes” to a question of whether NHL league games will be played this season. It also featured another intriguing dialogue, one where Friedman asked Daly something to the extent of, “Why not cancel all the league games up until the drop-dead date - presumably mid-January – and threaten to cancel the season next time? That way, the NHL Players Association will know you’re serious and that it’s time to stop messing around and cut a deal.” (Again, that’s my interpretation of the conversation…not a direct quote.) Daly, usually a casual reciter of talking points, seemed surprised and intrigued. He told Friedman that he would have to take that one back to the office and mull it over.
I guess it takes 24 hours to think things through. This afternoon, the NHL cancelled all league games through January 14th.
There’s nothing in the league’s press release regarding the cancellations to suggest that this is the final straw – that the next cancellation will cover the balance of the season. Still, with the Friedman/Daly conversation as a backdrop for this announcement…one can’t help but think that we’re fast approaching the point of no return on the NHL in 2012-13.