Labor negotiations between the National Hockey League's owners and players' union haven't yielded any progress. Due to this lack of movement, the NHL announced last week the cancellation of all regular season games through Oct. 24. The 2012-13 regular season was slated to open on Oct. 11.
In total, 82 contests were lost, including seven Capitals games—three on the road and four at home. However, the NHL's announcement left open the possibility of salvaging a full 82-game season.
It is possible that games could be rescheduled, if the two parties can come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement quickly. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said that it is "really tough to say" when there would need to be progress in the negotiations in order to play a full season.
"When we get to that point, we will have to reconfigure with the input and agreement of the Players' Association," Daly said. "There will be a lot of relevant considerations, I'm sure, including what can be done consistent with the health and safety of the Players."
The two sides have met only four times in the first 19 days of the lockout, which is hockey's third in the past 18 years. There hasn't been any progress in trying to close the gap on the most significant economic issues, such as how to split revenues. Since Sept. 12, neither party has submitted a new proposal.
After the league's cancellation of regular season games, union leader Donald Fehr criticized his opponents, calling the move a "unilateral choice of the NHL owners."
"If the owners truly cared about the game and the fans, they would lift the lockout and allow the season to begin on time while negotiations continue," Fehr said. "A lockout should be the last resort in bargaining, not the strategy of first resort. For nearly 20 years, the owners have elected to lock-out the players in an effort to secure massive concessions. Nevertheless, the players remain committed to playing hockey while the parties work to reach a deal that is fair for both sides. We hope we will soon have a willing negotiating partner."
While the stalemate continues with no end in sight, the number of players signing with teams outside the NHL continues to increase. More than 110 NHL players have agreed to play with European teams, including the Capitals' Alex Ovechkin, who signed with the KHL Russian team.