According to a tweet sent out this morning by ESPN’s Pierre Lebrun, the league may opt to cancel the entire season at next week’s deadline.
Reports this past week indicated that more games would be cancelled — including the NHL’s Winter Classic — if a labor deal was not reached by this coming Thursday. But Lebrun, citing an unnamed NHL team’s executive, tweeted that the entire season is in jeopardy this week. Lebrun did go on to say that he’s not sure if that scenario is “clean cut”.
As tense a situation as this is, it’s not unreasonable to think this is yet another public chess move by the league to put pressure on the players association. After stating publicly that it wouldn’t be in the best interest of negotiations to make any offers public, the league and Commissioner Gary Bettman did just that. This was seen by some as a leverage move to put pressure on the players association to agree to a deal. So, again, it’s not unreasonable that a league source leaking information that’s not quite “clean cut” to a member of the media may just be another negotiating ploy.
In any event, we will continue to update you on the ongoing labor dispute as more information becomes available.