With this weeks preseason games wiped away and the start of the regular season on Oct. 11 in serious jeopardy, Capitals center Mike Ribeiro believes the NHL lockout will continue until the players have forfeited 20 percent of their salaries.
I guess the owners game plan is to wait a few pay checks and then start the season after they got what that wanted, Ribeiro said Monday after an informal practice session at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. The fans will pay for it, but I dont think the owners really care about it.
NHL players normally start receiving their first paychecks of the season in late October. This year, they are expected to receive escrow checks in the amount of 8 percent of their 2011-12 salaries around the same time. So it won't be until mid-November that the players start feeling the financial pinch of the lockout.
Meanwhile, Monday marks Day 9 of the NHL lockout and in what can be viewed as another sign of the acrimonious feelings between NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and union chief Donald Fehr, neither attended a meeting to assess last years hockey-related revenue.
That meeting was attended by NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA deputy director Steve Fehr.
With no scheduled negotiations between the two sides and a growing number of NHL players signing to play in Europe, many believe the NHL is headed toward an entire year without hockey.
Ribeiro doesnt buy it, saying he thinks a deal will be made to salvage at least half the season.
It feels different than in 2004-05, Ribeiro said. Last time around we kind of knew it would be a long one, probably a full year.
This time I think were more optimistic that an agreement might happen earlier. Hopefully, by the end of November, so we can have December with hockey. But the owners game plan, at least in my opinion, is that theyll start paying guys after a month and a half or two months, after they get the 20 percent they wanted.
They want their 20 percent rollback of salaries and the players dont want to give it back, so lets just not play until the 20 percent is not spent.
Ribeiro said he believes an extended lockout would be breaking up what we built for the last six years and cant see the leagues owners allowing that to happen.
I just dont see them shutting down again for a full year, he said. It just doesnt make sense for anyone. I guess those smart people need to get smarter and figure something out.