NHL cancels November games

The earliest the Flyers could play is Dec. 1. (Tom Hanson/AP file photo)

The NHL on Friday canceled its November schedule because of the labor dispute.

League-wide, 326 games _ 26.5 percent of the season _ have been scrapped.

The Flyers have had 22 of their 82 games canceled. The earliest they could play is Dec. 1 at Flordia, provided the schedule isn't changed.

Using projections based on a Forbes report from last year, the Flyers will have lost $17.1 million in gate receipts for the 13 home games they will miss through the end of November.

Bill Daly, the NHL deputy commissioner, said the league will have to "rethink and restructure a proposal" because the last offer was based on an 82-game schedule.

If a new collective bargaining agreement was in place and the season started on Dec. 1, teams might play a 64-game schedule. In that scenario, teams could play division rivals six times (24 games) and their other conference foes four times (40 games).

Daly, in an email to The Inquirer late Thursday night, said the league had "no specific goals" as to how many games would be played. "Our general goal is to reach an agreement as soon as possible and to preserve as much of the regular season as possible," he said.

Asked if hiring a mediator was the next step, Daly said, "Perhaps. We will see."

The league still hopes to play the Winter Classic on Jan. 1 at Michigan Stadium. Commissioner Gary Bettman last month said a CBA needed to be in place by mid-November to save the event.

The agreement between the NHL and the University of Michigan says the Winter Classic can be canceled up until Jan. 1, the day of the game, if there is a work stoppage. The league would have to pay the university $100,000 of the $3 million stadium rental fee if that happened.

Before this year, the last time Bettman and the owners locked out the players was in 2004-05, when the entire season was lost.

And now the league has even more leverage because NBC, a subsidiary of Comcast, will pay the NHL $180 million this season _ even if no games are played .The tradeoff is that if no games are played, the NHL would not charge NBC for a year that is added to the back end of the 10-year contract.

(more coming)