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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Preseason Cancelled, Don't Expect Players to Give In

Posted at 07:00 AM

The National Hockey League has not come out and officially said that the current lockout may become a tad lengthier than once expected, but that can be assumed based on Wednesday's news that the league has cancelled the 2012 preseason schedule. 

In addition, beginning on October 1, the NHL will be cutting employee salaries by 20% and will only have them work four days each week. Layoffs have not come into fruition yet, but that would likely be the next step if the lockout goes on into the regular season schedule. 

This all brings me to my next point, which is in regard to the players' side of things. Too many people out there seem to be relying on the assumption that the players will eventually be giving in to the demands of team owners in order to get the new season up and going. However, as I said over the summer, a Donald Fehr-led NHLPA is not going to back down from their desires, and the players are just as willing to drag this thing out for the entire year as the owners are. 

Take, for example, this quote from Capitals winger Alexander Ovechkin upon heading over the KHL to begin his 2012-13 campaign: "If it's gonna be the same situation, I think it's all gonna be all year because we're not gonna give up."

Despite the appalling grammar and broken english, it's fairly easy to make out the frustration in that comment, and not only the frustration, but the drive and determination from the players as well. 

And, in a sense, why would the players be in such a rush to get the season started if they can take the easier route and head overseas for the year? The list of players electing to do so has grown since the last report, as now Alex Ovechkin, Jason Spezza and Logan Couture have joined Rick Nash, Evgeni Malkin and Joe Thornton in leaving North America for the time being. 

So for those of you who expect the players to let their guard down and allow the manipulation by the league and owners to create the same mistakes it did last time around, save yourself from the disappointment and forget that theory. This is going to drag on for a while, and if neither side wishes to budge, it just may be for the entire season. 

As for the Rangers, a report from the Daily News said that defenseman Ryan McDonagh has received multiple offers to play overseas, but he is staying put for now. Also, Marc Staal and Brian Boyle have both stated that they will look into joining another league if the lockout continues much longer. 

The news just gets better and better by the day....


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