Friday Morning – Rumblings in NHL HQ
This is Day 55 of the National Hockey League lockout and it appears that the owners and players' union are settling in to negotiate a settlement soon, barring any insults or perceived slights. As I wrote earlier, October 25 was the point of no return for any chance of playing a full 82-game season and it passed without any progress. The next day the league canceled all games for November and last week on Nov. 2 they cancelled the Winter Classic game. That extremely popular event is a scheduled game played in January in an outdoor stadium. The combination winter weather – that the sport grew from – and 30 thousand spectators or more, make for an entertaining contest. But the go-or-no-go date is early because of the extensive preparation involved in setting up a temporary ice rink and everything else has gone by.
This past Saturday the owners and players reps. spent the day in informal talks to set up some parameters and negotiating points with the intention of getting serious discussions going this week. They have been meeting this week and yesterday agreed to meet again today for the 4th straight day of negotiations. Both sides are amenable to continuing on through this weekend if progress is being made. They are approaching the time frame where the whole season can be lost if things don't get wrapped up and the show gets started. As you can expect, they are not publicly saying what the bargaining sessions are focusing on.
In related news, last week I passed along to you that the NY Islanders will be moving from crumbling Nassau Coliseum to a new arena that is already open and in use in Brooklyn for the 2015 – 16 season. Now there is more arena news bubbling up. The Phoenix Coyotes have been operated by the league for the past couple of years after they went bankrupt. The league has been looking for someone to purchase the team with preference for someone who would keep it in Phoenix. But there have been problems with the arena that they have been using in nearby Glendale. That city has been having financial problems operating that white elephant and in this week's election they voted in a mayor and council who campaigned on a "no handouts" platform with a city budget that is in trouble. So there is good chance that the team will be relocating not this year, but very possibly next season.
Conveniently, the Seattle City Council has already approved the construction of a new arena for their basketball team that will specifically be configured to accomodate a hockey rink. While that might be a tantalizing escape route for the Coyotes, the owner of the Edmonton Oilers has his eye on it as well. He is hoping to be able to relocate after his lease is up in Edmonton because the area just cannot generate the revenues needed to operate a competitive team in the NHL. It looks like a game of musical rinks is about to break out. Oh, and don't forget that the league itself has a wish list of eventually expanding by two teams for a more workable 32-team league.
We had better relocate now to the apparatus and get our equipment checked out for today. The coffee concession stand is open and the day room is ready, too. See you there.
* * * * * * *