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Toronto Star’s McGran: Winter Classic will be canceled by November as a negotiating tactic

This is particularly interesting given a certain Red Wings exec's compound comments regarding players, fans, and then the potentially imminent cancelation of the Winter Classic's precursor events, a.k.a. the Hockeytown Winter Festival: while Jimmy Devellano suggests otherwise, the Toronto Star's Kevin McGran quotes a "league source" as stating that the whole shebang will be canceled shortly in an attempt to gain lockout-negotiating leverage:

The NHL’s New Year’s Day Winter Classic between the Maple Leafs and Red Wings is on the chopping block, a potential early victim of the lockout.

A league source told the Star that, barring a settlement, commissioner Gary Bettman plans to cancel it in November — to take away any advantage the players may have at the bargaining table because of the game’s popularity.

“Gary told (the board of governors) he was going to cancel the Winter Classic in November because he didn’t want the players to use the game as leverage,” the source said.

A source close to the players said the NHLPA had heard the same thing.

“It’s a scare tactic,” the union source said. “It just proves the NHL has no intention of negotiating any time soon.”

If the NHL season were to begin in mid- to late November, it would leave plenty of time to stage and hype the Classic — including HBO’s successful 24/7 series, a behind-the-scenes look at the teams involved. The event at the University of Michigan’s football stadium — known as The Big House — would draw a crowd of around 100,000 and has traditionally been a ratings hit in Canada and the U.S.

Leafs GM Brian Burke, the NHL and the NHLPA declined comment. Jimmy Devellano, Red Wings senior vice-president, said the organization remains in wait-and-see mode.

“We’re going forward with (the Winter Classic) at this point in time,” said Devellano. “It’s way too early to start to speculate. It’s at least a month too early to worry about it.”

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Comments

mmuskrat's avatar

let’s hope this means the deal is done by then.

Posted by mmuskrat on 09/21/12 at 04:56 PM ET

wingsluver4ever's avatar

just proves that Bettman really does love to be hated, booed, and jeered….now can we spit on him, too…....please?!!

Posted by wingsluver4ever on 09/21/12 at 05:06 PM ET

Crater's avatar

Okay, wait a second. Let me process the Gary B-Logic formula here.

The Winter Classic is hugely popular and makes the NHL tons of money and gains them new fans… so I’m going to cancel it so that the Players Can’t hold that against me. Hahah Now I won’t make any money or gain any of that terrific press from such a great event on national TV.

Yep. Makes perfect sense in Gary’s world.

Posted by Crater from SoCal on 09/21/12 at 06:30 PM ET

awould's avatar

I’m not the smartest guy in the world but I’m not a dumb guy either, so someone please explain how this helps the owners? To me, the only way this creates any leverage for the owners is if Fehr/The Players believe that Bettman/The Owners don’t care about the game. But everyone knows they do. Especially NBC.

The one certain thing this did was to set a firm date to canceling it. Now Fehr will adjust his timetable accordingly and start to push his buttons and pull his levers at the appropriate times to apply the desired pressure or else the Winter Classic is cancelled!!!

But now also too, it is Bettman who cancelled the game no matter what happens.

It’s like he wants to be hated.

Posted by awould on 09/21/12 at 06:32 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

“Gary told (the board of governors) he was going to cancel the Winter Classic in November because he didn’t want the players to use the game as leverage,” the source said.

So he decides to go ahead and use it for leverage before the players can. This just proves once again that the Garden Gnome doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the fans, the players or the sport itself.

The only thing he cares about is power. And he’ll throw the whole damn sport under the bus just to flex his puny little “muscles.” He has to be the most despicable person in the history of hockey – and maybe in all of sports.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 09/21/12 at 06:33 PM ET

Crater's avatar

But now also too, it is Bettman who cancelled the game no matter what happens.

It’s like he wants to be hated.

Posted by awould on 09/21/12 at 07:32 PM ET

I don’t want you to steal my life savings.. so I am going to light them on fire infront of the neighborhood, my wife and kids.  - Gary Bettman

Posted by Crater from SoCal on 09/21/12 at 06:34 PM ET

awould's avatar

Posted by Crater from SoCal on 09/21/12 at 07:34 PM ET

exactly. I don’t get it.

Posted by awould on 09/21/12 at 08:29 PM ET

Chet's avatar

f these guys, seriously.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 09/21/12 at 09:16 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.