There is still no sign anyone will get to watch the NHL. Many fans in Buffalo will get to view the American Hockey League, though.
The Rochester Americans announced Wednesday that 16 of their games will be shown throughout Western New York on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel. The first of 14 home games will air Oct. 19 when the Buffalo Sabres’ minor-league club hosts Grand Rapids. The games will be simulcast with the Amerks’ radio broadcasts, with Don Stevens doing play-by-play and former Sabre Ric Seiling serving as the color analyst.
Time Warner will also broadcast two road games from Syracuse and pick up the Crunch’s play-by-play feed.
The Sabres are no closer to returning to TV or the ice after the NHL and its players’ union held two fruitless negotiating sessions Wednesday.
The four main players in the collective bargaining talks — NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr and union special counsel Steve Fehr — took part in the first meeting. Bettman and Donald Fehr sat out the second chat, which featured seven players at the table.
“We didn’t really move the ball forward that much,” Daly told reporters in New York. “We had no discussion on the major economic issues or system issues, so that continues to be a disappointment from our perspective. Hopefully, we can get to that at some point.”
The puck was supposed to drop on the regular season today, but games are canceled through Oct. 24. Daly said the loss of the preseason and the first two weeks of real games will cost the league $240 million in revenue.
“It’s unfortunate for both of us,” Daly said. “It’s a significant amount of money that the players share in on a significant basis.
“Even more disappointing from our perspective, should be from our collective perspective, is obviously we felt like over the last seven years we built up a lot of momentum in the business. We’ve had a lot of growth. Who knows what a work stoppage like this will do to that momentum.”
The union reiterated that the loss of games is not the fault of the players.
“Games are canceled because the clubs chose to institute this lockout and are not backing off from it,” Steve Fehr said in Manhattan. “It’s unfortunate.”
Although the sides likely have seven days to negotiate a deal before more games are canceled, Daly said no timeline has been established.
“I can honestly say I haven’t focused on that,” he told reporters. “We’ve got a little bit of time before we make that next move, but obviously days go by and decisions need to be made.”
The leaders from both sides are expected to talk again today. The league is hopeful the players’ association will make a new proposal.
“We’re encouraging them to make a proposal,” Daly said. “We understand that they’ve been working on some concepts, some ideas. We’ve suggested to them just make the proposal.
“Any movement is better than no movement at all. If we move sideways, hopefully we’d move it forward, but even if we move backward it might be better than where we are now.”