Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Playing in Europe easy for some, not so for others

Blues veterans don't appear ready to bolt; McDonald
said decision should be easy for younger teammates

CHESTERFIELD, Mo. -- If the current NHL lockout has a prolonged effect to it, veteran Blues forward Andy McDonald feels he has a wise piece of advice for some of his younger teammates.

"I encourage all of our younger players to go play," the 35-year-old McDonald said recently.

When McDonald, a veteran of 11 NHL seasons, says "go play," he's unfortunately talking about a last resort. That last resort would be to go play overseas in Europe, whether it be the KHL in Russia, Sweden, Czech Republic, Switzerland, anyplace where the hockey is competitive.

With the lockout -- in full effect since Sept. 16 -- now running into November and on the verge of wiping out the annual Winter Classic and on the cusp of eliminating the all-star game in Columbus, there seems to be no end in sight despite players staying positive that a deal can be reached.

(Getty Images)
Andy McDonald will not be uprooting his family for the
chance to play in Europe should the NHL lockout last.
The Blues already have eight players performing in rinks all across Europe. With Alex Steen and Patrik Berglund (Sweden), Chris Stewart, Roman Polak and Vladimir Sobotka (Czech Republic), Kris Russell (Finland), Matt D'Agostini (Germany) and Vladimir Tarasenko (Russia), they are well-represented on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

The Blues, who have had regulars on a consistent basis working out and skating at the Hardees IcePlex, have been represented well in their informal skates. There have been a number of veterans skating with McDonald, Scott Nichol, Jamie Langenbrunner, Barret Jackman, David Backes and Brian Elliott as well as a younger core of players, including T.J. Oshie, Kevin Shattenkirk, Alex Pietrangelo and even David Perron, who trained here last week.

The opportunity to play hockey overseas in case nothing transpires here weighs heavily for all players but for different reasons. McDonald said it's much easier for those younger guys to just pick up and go. And if he were one of them, the choice would be an easy one.

"You get to play games, you get to be on a regular schedule, regular practice, but you also want to make sure you're playing at a high level," said McDonald, who's married with two young children that he would have to consider uprooting. "Taking a step back and playing at a level that's not going to help your game ... you've got to weigh all the benefits. There's also the risk of injury. There's a lot of things to consider, but for the younger players who don't have the families and uproot and take kids out of school, this might be a good opportunity to go and play hockey and keep yourself ready.

"Last time around, I had a girlfriend and went over there with no responsibilities. Now I have two kids and they're the priority. I'm certainly not going to take my kids out of school and run across to Europe to play hockey. I'm kind of weighing all the options."

For those that haven't made the decision to head across the Atlantic yet, a lot of it has to do with remaining hopeful that they'll be suiting up in an arena near NHL fans soon.

"Some guys are just a little more patient with it than others," Shattenkirk said. "Some guys just need to play right away. ... Some guys just feel like let's go over there, get the games and when it comes back, it comes back.

"To be dead-honest, if I was home right now with two or three guys skating, I think the motivation factor would be very hard. Being here (in St. Louis) with guys on your team, there's definitely an accountability factor. We're all in this together. (The NHL) could come back tomorrow, it could come back in three months. We want to make sure we're at least trying to get better every day and keeping ourselves prepared."

However, the element of the unknown is what makes a decision so difficult.

"I think that's the hardest part for everybody," said Pietrangelo, who's rehabbing ankle surgery after having a bursa sac removed. "We don't have a date yet for when it's going to start or stop. To go over there now, anything can turn around in a hurry.

"There's still a lot of things to take into consideration. You're picking up and going over there and there's the potential of having a season soon. You never know when it could happen. It's definitely a possibility. I think everybody's kind of got it in the back of their mind right now."

But the thought of going to Europe is intriguing on more levels than just playing hockey.

"For a guy in my position, you can almost kind of look at it as a life experience to get over there and play in front of a foreign crowd and a different style of hockey," Shattenkirk said. "... As a young player, at least having that option to do it, if it's going to be a long-term deal with this lockout, it's something you can make the most of if you go over there.
(Getty Images)
For a player that's not married and with no kids, the choice to go to Europe
is a bit easier for Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk (right).

"... We love the game. The fans are different over there. They're crazy. They love their hockey, just the same as here. It's a completely different experience. But I think at the same time, you have to weigh it out and make sure you don't go somewhere where it's not going to be quality hockey. You have to make sure you're putting yourself in a good position."

Nichol, Langenbrunner, Jackman and Backes all are married and they have kids to consider except Backes. None seem to be in a rush to jump across the ocean anytime soon. But if this lockout extends well into 2013, it's an option some may have no choice but to accept.

"For me, I'm going to wait here a little longer and make sure my ankle feels the way it needs to be, but definitely the thought's been there," Pietrangelo said. "When the time comes, I'll have to decide."

"There's positives and negatives to looking at it both ways," McDonald said. "The positives are your family is going, you expose your kids to a different culture, different schools.

"Speaking personally, I think it's important for my family to be here and be in school here. As bad as I want to go over and play, at this time I'm not going to take my kids out of school and go to Europe. ... You want to keep it in the back of your mind if this thing goes the whole year. How are you going to stay ready? How are you going to keep yourself, your mind in it to come back next year and play and be ready? Are you getting enough in St. Louis practice-wise that's keeping you at a level that's high enough to play in the NHL when that starts? These are all things to consider."

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Perron surprises teammates, joins them at informal skates

Winger in town skating this week, would like to
make move permanent pending CBA talks

CHESTERFIELD, Mo. -- The usual cast that has been encapsulated inside the Hardees IcePlex for more than a month now, because the National Hockey League lockout is in its sixth week, took in a surprising new member this week

That same cast, which includes David Backes, T.J. Oshie, Alex Pietrangelo, Andy McDonald, Kevin Shattenkirk, Barret Jackman, Scott Nichol, Jamie Langenbrunner, Brian Elliott (who is not here this week) as well as hometown players who play for other NHL franchises, welcomed David Perron into the foray this week.

Perron, who has been laying low and working out in his hometown Sherbrooke, Quebec, is back in St. Louis ... and his teammates were glad to have him here even though they were not aware he would be joining them.

"Yeah, it's fun to come in and check on everything and see the guys," Perron said, who got in town in time to join the workouts on Monday. "It's been a while. Coming into the room, it was like 15 minutes before practice and some of them didn't expect me to be there. I talked to Backes before. I don't know if he told everyone, but it was kind of nice to just come in and see everyone again."

Perron, who was also in St. Louis over the summer working out with Blues prospects in order to get himself better prepared for a 2012-13 season that nobody knows whether it will take place or not, would love nothing more than to make it a permanent stay.

"I think we all want to play," said Perron, who has remained relatively quiet as far as negotiations with the Collective Bargaining Agreement. "That's the main thing we want to do. But at the end of the day, there's the business side of things we've got to take care of. It's not the best part. That's not why we play, but at the same time, we've got to deal with it accordingly and in the right way. That's why we listen to the older guys.

"I think everyone has been really supportive of Don Fehr and the NHLPA. We've got to keep on going that way until it gets resolved."

Perron, who scored 42 points in 57 games last season after returning from a concussion suffered early in the 2010-11 season, worked extensively throughout the summer to help himself be 100 percent ready both mentally and physically for the upcoming campaign. But with the uncertainty of a season, the extra time to prepare hasn't really been all that beneficial.

"I don't know. I was ready by September," Perron said. "I think this last little while has actually been tough training-wise because you just don't know what's going to happen. Are you going to be like this the whole year, are you going to be like this a month, two months? It's just tough to figure out. I think for the most part, you can't stay on the ball for too long because you don't want the season to get started and be tired mentally."

Perron did play in a game earlier this month in his hometown as part of The Players' Tour, or in the French version: La Tournee des Joueurs. It is part of a series of charitable exhibition games pitting NHL players from the Montreal area against those from the Quebec City region, started by Philadelphia Flyers' Bruno Gervais and Max Talbot.

"I just played one game for different reasons, insurance-wise and stuff," Perron said. "But it's good to kind of see the guys getting together for charity.

"The game that I played was pretty unbelievable in my hometown ... 4,000 people in the rink was full in the junior rink up there. The whole thing around that was pretty special. For me to play in my hometown was fun, too."

If there is no end in sight to the NHL labor strife, Perron has indicated that he will not be -- at least for the time being -- part of a cast of players that have either headed overseas or will be going soon in order to play.

"I'll keep waiting and see, but I think I'm just going to stick around," Perron said. "I think my training has been really good. Obviously it's tough. I was really ready when September 15 came around for training camp. Once the NHL lockout came, you can't stay on that same intensity for too long because you'll get mentally tired and physically. I kind of backed off a little bit for the last little while. Now I'm trying to get back up to where I was and hopefully it will get started soon."

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Kevin Shattenkirk, Andy McDonald respond to NHL proposal

Blues' player rep calls latest league offer "meaningful"

ST. LOUIS -- Blues defenseman and player rep Kevin Shattenkirk along with veteran forward Andy McDonald talk about the latest proposal by the NHL that could be the start of fruitful negotiations and could ultimately lead to the end of the NHL lockout that began Sept. 16.

If negotiations can get done over the next 7-10 days, the idea is that a full 82-game NHL season can be salvaged and begin play on Nov. 2.

Some key points that came from today's league offer, based off reports:

* The NHL has offered a 50-50 share of HRR (Hockey Related Revenue).

* Free agency for players would begin at 28 years of age, or after eight years of service.

* Entry-level contracts would drop from three years to two years.

* Revenue sharing would be roughly at $200 million.

*Length of contracts would max out at five years.

* Arbitration would still exist after league initially offered to eliminate it.

Here are Shattenkirk's comments and initial thoughts on today's developments:

What are your initial thoughts on today's proposal?
I think there's a lot of meaningful things we can take out of this. We really have to be happy that the NHL has brought something to the table and hopefully it's a starting point over the next 7-10 days here that we can negotiate from. I really think it shows that they're making a move and making an effort in our direction in showing that they're bargaining in good faith and that we can work to get something done here in the next couple days.

Fans seem to be really fired up about making traction based off today's league proposal. Do the players want them to be cautiously optimistic or how would you term their enthusiasm?
That's probably a great term to use for it (being cautiously optimistic). I think just in hearing the details of it, what's going to be pressed is the 50-50 split and then the rollback. I think it's important to get all the facts. There's more to it than just those two points, but it's definitely a good starting point hopefully and hopefully if and when we make our counter-proposal, that the NHL doesn't immediately say, 'That's it. That's what we're offering and if you guys don't take it, you guys are out of it and that's all you're getting.'

Do you feel like if this sort of proposal was made 2-3 months ago, there would be hockey today?
I'd like to think so. I'd like to think that if those initial two proposals for them weren't given out, maybe if we started at more of a middle ground from what we were offering that things would be done sooner. But it's so hard to say. I think what happens is they've taken a lot of what we offered under consideration. Whether we would have gotten to this point sooner by starting sooner, who knows. I think it definitely shows that the NHL is taking what we're saying into consideration and vice versa. I think with this move, the ball's in our court and it's time to see what we do with it and where it goes from here.

Are there still concerns that remain after looking at this latest proposal or do you feel like you can bridge the gaps and get something done?
I don't think there's anything ridiculous like we saw in the first proposal that they offered us. That just made us completely shake our heads and dismiss it. I think there's obviously plenty of points there that we feel we can improve on. But I feel like that they've come towards us in those areas and I feel like we can definitely now work from there and meet somewhere and get it done.

McDonald talks specifically about HRR and revenue sharing:

Report on NHL wanting to change the definition of HRR:
What we've been told is that they want to 'clarify' it, but they haven't given any detail about what that means. You've got to suspect that that means they want to reduce it somehow, or redefine it somehow. So obviously we have to be given a more detailed explanation, so we know exactly what we're talking about.

Did the NHL address revenue sharing?

I think they've made an effort to kind of move in our direction with revenue sharing. I think our concern is making sure that the teams that are getting the money ... are doing more than just getting the money ... they're doing something that can grow the game. I think it's a positive that they've addressed the revenue sharing.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Instead of opening season, uncertainlty remains in NHL

Lockout moves into fourth week, talks to resume
Wednesday; D'Agostini latest Blue to sign in Europe

CHESTERFIELD -- Instead of practicing the final few days before departing to Denver for the season-opener Thursday, T.J. Oshie and a few handful of teammates and NHL players were once again left to fend for themselves.

Despite being on its own, the National Hockey League Players Association continues its unified stance against the owners. And because it is entrenched in that unified stance, instead of talking about opening night taking place Thursday for the Blues in Denver against the Colorado Avalanche, the talk is still surrounding the uncertainty of an NHL season and the lockout that has it on hold.
(Photo by Mark Buckner/St. Louis Blues)
Instead of building being filled to capacity, NHL arenas will sit empty, like
Scottrade Center in St. Louis. The NHL season was to open Thursday but
will not because of a second lockout in eight years.

Oshie, David Backes, Andy McDonald, Barret Jackman, Kevin Shattenkirk, Matt D'Agostini, Alex Pietrangelo, Brian Elliott, Jamie Langenbrunner and Scott Nichol are still skating together at the Hardees IcePlex, along with St. Louis natives Ben Bishop (Ottawa), Chris Butler (Calgary) and Cam Janssen (New Jersey). It's their way of staying up to par when/if the NHL and NHLPA consummate a new Collective Bargaining Agreement and the season can be salvaged.

"I think reality kind of set in after the New York meetings I went to (recently)," Oshie said Tuesday. "After that, I kind of realized what we're dealing with and what's going on.

"It sucks, but we want to play under a fair deal that's fair for both sides. We're just waiting and hopefully we don't lose too much of the season."

Until then, former Blues defenseman Jeff Brown and Jamie Rivers are running the workouts and the players continue their unified stance.

"We're unified just as much as (the owners) are," said D'Agostini, who left for Germany Tuesday night after signing a contract to play with SC Reissersee of 2-Bundesliga. "That's why it's not moving anywhere now. It's good for us. We're not giving into the outrageous demands. We're staying firm.

"If they see more and more of us taking off for Europe, I think the owners will start panicking, too, because I'm sure they don't want to lose a full season just as much as we don't either. We'll see how it all unfolds."

Despite the ongoing tug of war between the owners and players, hockey fans are suffering most and will be heard from even more when the realization finally hits that a puck won't drop Thursday. The Blues, Avalanche, Boston, Philadelphia, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary and Vancouver were all set to unveil the 2012-13 season. The league has already canceled games from Oct. 11-24, 82 games in all. It will slice more games off the schedule as time marches on without an agreement.

"As much as (fans) enjoy watching hockey, as much as they enjoy coming to games and rooting on their hometown teams, we love playing hockey that much more," Oshie said. "We want to get out there. We just feel that we can't do that and we won't do that until there's something fair on the table for both sides."

As for D'Agostini, he joins Alex Steen and Patrik Berglund (Sweden), Chris Stewart (Germany), Vladimir Sobotka and Roman Polak (Czech Republic) and Vladimir Tarasenko (Russia) as Blues playing overseas. Kris Russell signed to play in Finland but has since returned after suffering a lower-body injury, believed to be a knee. But D'Agostini feels like this could be a consistent trend in the coming weeks for the players, particularly if the ones still here don't feel like there's traction being made with the CBA.

"I think people will start signing more and more in the next few weeks," he said. "They realize we might be waiting around for a while.

"I just want to play some games and get back into game shape so when we do settle this, I'll be ready to go. It's a good experience to kind of not jump all over, go to Germany and experience that type of game and play some hockey games. There were other options, but my agent is really close with this team and he's dealt with them before. I'm excited about going there. He told me all about it. It's a nice little town. People will treat me like one of their own."
(Photo by Mark Buckner/St. Louis Blues)
Matt D'Agostini (36) is the latest Blue to jump overseas to play during the
NHL lockout, agreeing to play for SC Reissersee of 2-Bundesliga.

The two sides are expected to meet Wednesday in New York. Non-core economic issues are slated to be topics of discussion. But will it also be the beginning of something meaningful as far as discussions on the core economic issues? Time will tell. But in the meantime, the reality of missing games is already being felt, as the entire preseason was wiped out, and now the regular season will begin to follow suit.

"It's really setting in," D'Agostini said. "... I'd just like to get back into the swing of things, start getting my head focused again, to get back into the routine of playing some games again. Hopefully it will get me turned around.

"I'm not too certain on how long it will last but from what I hear, it sounds like it will (last). It doesn't sound like they're getting anywhere too fast. I don't want to be sitting at home thinking about it anymore."

Added Oshie: "Right now, it seems like the owners are holding strong ... I wasn't around for the last lockout but it sounds like it's going in that direction for them. The differences I hear from players -- especially the older players and veterans -- is that all the players are together this time. We're all under one voice. That obviously has to do with (NHLPA Executive Director) Don Fehr and what he's done. ... He wants to get us the best deal possible that's fair. He keeps reiterating for us to stick together. The boys have been. That's great. I think that's the biggest thing how unified we are as a union.

"All I know is we're sticking together right now. We're holding out for something that's fair."

And fans just keep holding out ... holding out for the game to come back.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Blues, Davidson officially part ways

Team's President of Hockey Operations can walk away with head held high

ST. LOUIS -- John Davidson and the Blues are parting ways, probably sooner than the 59-year-old had hoped or expected.

Davidson, the Blues' President of Hockey Operations since 2006, has mutually agreed to a buyout of the remaining three years of his contract, which still had roughly $6 million remaining on it. He originally agreed to a four-year, $8 million extension in the summer of 2010.

Terms of the buyout were not disclosed, and Davidson said he has no immediate plans regarding his future.

(Getty Images)
The Blues went from the bottom of the NHL to
being among the top teams last season in John
Davidson's seven-year tenure  as President of
Hockey Operations.

Often times in these circumstances, when parties go their own separate ways typically means the two sides only agree that they're better off without each other. However this situation is the exception to the rule.

Davidson was hired by the previous ownership group, led by Dave Checketts, on June 30, 2006 to revitalize a franchise that had seemingly become disconnected with its fan base.

The Blues were fresh off a last place finish in the NHL (21-46-15) coming out of a lockout year, and Davidson instantly became the face of the franchise.

But with economic times tough on many of the smaller market franchises around the league, the Blues have been forced to reduce costs after reportedly losing $20 million a season ago, and new chairman Tom Stillman, who led a group in purchasing the team from Checketts this past summer, had to make concessions somewhere along the line.

Davidson understands the Blues are in a financial situation where costs need to be cut, and unfortunately, his contract was one area that needed to be eliminated.

"There's no animosity at all," Davidson said. "When you see new ownership purchasing something like a sports club, there's always going to be change. Tom and I have had a number of discussions. It took a while, but we found some common ground in our discussions ... we chatted about expenses and contracts and we just came to a conclusion that my contract would be a burden on the club. We worked something out where we're both satisfied with. It takes the burden off the team financially. It allows me to find something somewhere else, depending on what I want to do.

"It's just business. It is. It's a tough time to leave. We really enjoy St. Louis, very much so in every aspect."

Stillman acknowledged that this has nothing to do with Davidson's work. It was all about economics.
"He has done a great job here, so it’s certainly nothing about his work," Stillman said. "But, as you know, we are working to get our business, our financial house in order. We feel the organization was bloated and our expenses were way out of line. And we have to marshal our resources so that we can focus on continuing to put a winning, contending team on the ice. That’s what this is all about.

"The management team recognizes all of that, including JD. And JD is a good man, a real professional, a true Blue. So he worked with us like a pro, and I think we arrived at something that helps the Blues franchise and is fair to everyone involved. I salute him for working it out in a way that helps the Blues. JD is a good man."

When John Davidson took over, it was a task of trying to rebuild a proud franchise.

Davidson, fresh from his television analyst job with Madison Square Garden, was faced with a tremendous challenge.

Seven years later, the Blues are among the league's best after a season ago finishing with 49 wins. They did it by building from within and going with one of Davidson's famous lines of "Come grow with us," which he used to help lure Blues fans back into the building.

"His savvy, his connections, his ability to connect with people is remarkable," Blues captain David Backes said. "He'll still have that wherever he goes or whatever endeavor he finds next. It'll be big shoes to fill for whoever tries to jump in them.

"The position that we're in now compared to when he got here the year before me and since I've been here, it's been phenomenal. It's definitely been aided by his work, his efforts ... not just the work he does around the arena but it's heartfelt with all the work he does with the animal rescue stuff. He's got the same sort of jungle running around his house that I do. It's sad to see him not be part of the Blues and the St. Louis community anymore, but a great man and hopefully we can find somebody that can pick up the slack."

The team went from the bottom of the NHL to finishing with the second-most points in the league last season (109) before bowing out in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs to eventual champion Los Angeles. During his tenure, the Blues made two postseason appearances (2009, 2012), won the Central Division championship a season ago and experienced a revival in the community that saw their average attendance rise from 12,520 (30th) in 2006-07 to 18,809 (9th) in 2011-12.

"We went through where we had 6,000 people in the building for a long time, but they were the best 6,000 you'll ever find, because they were there through the thick and the thin," Davidson said. "They stayed with us and the crowds grew."

Davidson, who was a goalie during his playing career, was a first-round pick of the Blues in 1973, where he played for two seasons before being traded to the Rangers. He would finish out his abbreviated career there before moving over to the Rangers' broadcast booth for the next three decades with Sam Rosen.

"There's a lot of guys that learned a lot from JD," said Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. ... It's tough to see a guy like that go. He's the one that brought me here. I know there's a few guys that have been here since he's been here, so it's a bit of a change for us.

"Any time you develop a relationship with somebody, it's tough to see him go, whether it's a player or someone in management."

Davidson met with the Columbus Blue Jackets over the summer regarding an undisclosed position but nothing ever came of that situation. It's the only opportunity that has opened up outside the Blues organization to this point. And whatever lies ahead for Davidson, he doesn't know at this point.

"I don't know. I really don't know," he said. "I've talked to Columbus once, with permission, and it was a good discussion. Other than that, I haven't talked to anyone.

"I'm not saying anything in any aspect yet, whether it be television or management or whatever. I'm just going to try to discover whatever I try to do next (and) it won't be retirement. It'll be the right thing for myself and my family."

Under Davidson, the Blues have molded a surplus of talent, including drafting Pietrangelo, Backes, T.J. Oshie and David Perron as well as No. 1 overall pick Erik Johnson. The Blues also acquired notable players Alex Steen, Andy McDonald, Jaroslav Halak, Kevin Shattenkirk, Chris Stewart and the right to trade for a draft pick in which the Blues took Vladimir Tarasenko, as well as brought in experienced coaches like Ken Hitchcock and Andy Murray.

Davidson can walk away with his head held high despite not being here for the climax.

"Now, it's got a chance," Davidson said of the Blues' chances of succeeding. "This club is standing at third base and you see home plate. You've got to get to home plate. This team's got a shot at it. I feel very proud of that, being a part of a group that put that together.

"I'm going to be a big fan, I'm going to watch because I know how hard they're going to be to beat now. It'll be interesting to see where they go. They're in good hands. Doug will do a good job. I just hope the puck gets dropped pretty soon because this team's ready to go. The coaching staff's an excellent staff, it's a great staff. ... This is a complete organization. It's solid. I like that it's in a great place. It's got a shot to be in the upper echelon. You have a window that's open for a certain time, and the window is wide open for this club now. We'll see where it goes. I feel very proud to be a part of that group."

Thursday, October 4, 2012

NHL cancels first two weeks of regular season

Games from Oct. 11-24 are wiped out;
Blues lose five games, including three at home

ST. LOUIS -- The National Hockey League made official what nobody wanted to hear but knew was inevitable: the first two weeks of the regular season have been canceled.

The league made the formal announcement through a release early Thursday afternoon that a total of 82 games affecting the 32 teams have been wiped out because of the ongoing league lockout, which the league claimed "was necessary because
of the absence of a Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL Players' Association and the NHL."

The start of the regular season was to begin on Oct. 11.

In a statement released by the NHLPA, executive director Don Fehr said: "The decision to cancel the first two weeks of the NHL season is the unilateral choice of the NHL owners. If the owners truly cared about the game and the fans, they would lift the lockout and allow the season to begin on time while negotiations continue. A lockout should be the last resort in bargaining, not the strategy of first resort. For nearly 20 years, the owners have elected to lock out the players in an effort to secure massive concessions. Nevertheless, the players remain committed to playing hockey while the parties work to reach a deal that is fair for both sides. We hope we will soon have a willing negotiating partner."

As far as the Blues are concerned, they were in Colorado against the Avalanche on Oct. 11. The Blues will lose a total of five games, including Oct. 13 at Nashville, the home opener on Oct. 18 vs. Detroit as well as home games on Oct. 20 against Minnesota and Oct. 23 against Chicago.

And with no deal imminent between the league and NHLPA, it is grim at best that the season would begin on Oct. 25, which is the next date to begin eliminating games.

The Blues have a home game scheduled on the 25th against the Avalanche.

The entire preseason schedule was already canceled, and the league claims that it lost in excess of $100 million in revenue.

The two sides last met on Tuesday in New York but no progress was made. No more talks are scheduled officially but could resume at any time.