Report: Next season won’t kick off in Europe


While the practice has received its fair share of mixed reviews, the NHL’s tradition of kicking off its regular season by playing several games in Europe provides fans and players with a unique experience. Chris Johnston reports that the unsettled CBA situation prompted the NHL to nix the “Premiere Games” for 2012, though.

To date, there have been no formal bargaining talks between the league and NHL Players’ Association.

However, the sides have discussed the status of the premiere games for next season.

The league was willing to schedule them, but an agreement couldn’t be reach with the NHLPA over how cancellation costs would be handled in the event of a work stoppage, according to two sources.

It’s logical for the NHL to play it safe and avoid confusion regarding games that simply might not happen if the CBA talks stall. Still, it certainly calls Gary Bettman’s “business as usual” comments into question since – most literally – this is a break from the way the league has been doing business the last few years.

It’s not time to lay flowers on the 2012-13 season’s grave just yet, but it does speak to the concern that the NHLPA and NHL have some work to do.

Players can look on the bright side, though: if the season goes off without a hitch, they’ll save a little wear and tear from travel.

Bettman on CBA discussion: “We’re not there yet”


Times have been good for hockey fans and the NHL the last few years. Still, with the CBA set to expire this summer and feared labor leader Donald Fehr heading the NHLPA, the specter of another lockout looms in the background.

The last thing people want to think about is the prolonged negotiations that messed up the current NBA season – or worse – so many hope that both sides of the equation will be proactive. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman admits that talks haven’t gotten off the ground just yet, though.

Bettman said there is contact on a regular basis with the union, and he thinks talks will begin “sooner rather than later, but we’re not there yet.”

No news isn’t necessarily good news in this situation, but it’s silly to get too worried about things in mid-February.

In the mean time, Bettman and the NHL have other issues to sort out. Bettman said “very serious people” are taking a “very serious look” at buying the Phoenix Coyotes, so take what you will from that.