NEW YORK — It looks like a full 82-game schedule "is not going to be a reality, although the clock has a little bit of time to run," commissioner Gary Bettman said Wednesday.
In making the NHL's Oct. 16 offer in talks for a collective bargaining agreement, Bettman said a deal needed to be in place by today for the season to begin Nov. 2 and allow each team to play a full 82-game schedule. With no negotiations since Thursday and none scheduled, reaching a deal in one day appeared unlikely as Bettman spoke at a news conference announcing the Islanders' move to Brooklyn in 2015.
"We gave our very best offer," he said. "That offer, for better or for worse, was contingent on playing an 82-game season. So I think things … in some respects may get more difficult."
The players association reached out to the NHL on Tuesday night in an attempt to set up face-to-face bargaining Wednesday, but the league declined. The union wants everything open for discussion. The NHL says if the union isn't willing to talk about its Oct. 16 offer and isn't prepared to make a new proposal riffing off it, there is no reason to talk.
"At the same time (the league is) refusing to meet, they are winding the clock down to yet another artificial deadline they created," union chief Donald Fehr said.
islanders to brooklyn: After seven months of negotiations with the new Barclays Center, owner Charles Wang said the Islanders will relocate about 25 miles west of their Long Island home once their lease expires at Nassau Coliseum after the 2014-15 season. The Islanders have played at the Coliseum, in Uniondale, since they entered the NHL in 1972. Wang tried for years to get a new arena built, but he never got the necessary approval. Wang and Bettman said in the past the Islanders wouldn't play in the Coliseum one day longer that they had to. "I think fans want a good experience," Wang said. "It's not just about watching hockey. It's also the whole ambience of coming to a place where you can get good food and you can see."
blue jackets: The beleaguered franchise hopes to turn around its fortunes by hiring former Blues president John Davidson as president of hockey operations. The club had the worst record in the league last season (29-46-7, 65 points), giving it losing records in 10 of its 11 seasons. "The hardest part is to go through the ups and downs of getting a club to get back on its feet and going in the right direction," said Davidson, 59. "But if you have the right mentality, where your players understand how hard they have to work, we'll do well." Davidson left the Blues after last season after seven years when new owner Tom Stillman bought out his contract in a cost-cutting move.