NHL players seek other teams as lockout continues

Sep 18, 2012 | Sports

NHL Lockout enters third day

By Ustad Khaira

1,698 regular season NHL games have been missed under Commissioner Gary Bettman. -COURTESY Wiki Commons- captcanuk

As the NHL lockout enters Day Three, the chances of getting hockey this season are becoming slim and negotiations are at a stalemate. Meanwhile, some big names have started to look elsewhere for work.

“You worry as a fan that these sides are a little more entrenched than we thought they were two or three weeks ago,” Toronto Star sports columnist Dave Feschuk told Humber News.

“Now that they’ve laid their cards on the table, my outlook is grimmer than it was in the lead-up to this,” he said.

Most of the core issues between league ownership and the players association surround money, primarily how much hockey related revenue the players are entitled to. Neither side is prepared to back down on their offer.

“It’s not just the share of revenues – that’s the most important issue we have to talk about – but there are a host of other issues that have to be resolved to get this done,” said Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly to TSN on Monday.

“Finding a mechanism to start making progress as opposed to stalling is our current challenge.”

The way the players have united behind Executive Director of National Hockey League Player’s Association Donald Fehr could mean that they will not be as willing to accept an offer that doesn’t meet their terms, Feschuk said.

‘Only time will tell’

“You look at the way the players are lining up behind Donald Fehr, you get the sense that they’ve been pushed in a way that they’re uncomfortable being pushed,” said Feschuk.

“Maybe the owners miscalculated about the player’s unity. Only time will tell on that. Unity is easy to test when nobody’s missed a paycheque,” he said.

Players have already begun to look places other than the NHL to play hockey this season.

In the last two days NHL all-stars such as Rick Nash, Joe Thornton and Mark Streit signed contracts to play in the Switzerland, joining several other players who left for European leagues in the last week.

“In the last lockout there was quite a bit more than half of the NHL players that ended up finding jobs elsewhere. As this thing extends, more and more of them are going to call up their agents and say ‘get me a gig’. That’s going to create an interesting scenario for Fehr,” said Feschuk.

Labour negotiations are scheduled to resume on Wednesday.