Conversations restart; NHL negotiations on hold
Richards organized a benefit skate Friday to help in the relief efforts on Staten Island after Superstorm Sandy, and was joined by several of his teammates. Richards, who signed with the Rangers last offseason, and led them to the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference last postseason partnered with a high school team to organize ‘‘Skating for Sandy.’’
This 62-day lockout has claimed 327 regular-season games, and hope of a new deal and the start of the already-shortened season — likely of 68 games per team — on Dec. 1 has been dashed.
Rangers forward Marian Gaborik sees little benefit in taking a break from negotiations.
‘‘I don’t know what his mindset is,’’ he said about Bettman.
It is more than just finances preventing a deal. The disagreements over player contract terms have emerged as just as big an impasse.
The NHL wants to limit contracts to five years, make rules to prohibit back-diving contracts the league feels circumvent the salary cap, keep players ineligible for unrestricted free agency until they are 28 or have eight years of professional service time, cut entry-level deals to two years, and make salary arbitration after five years.
Players missed their third pay day of the season Thursday, and the clock is ticking toward more losses. The 2004-05 season was canceled in February. A lockout in 1995 ended in January, leading to a 48-game schedule.
‘‘Different,’’ Gaborik said about this lockout. ‘‘The union is much stronger. We have a leader we believe in.’’
Freelance writer Denis Gorman contributed to this report.