Originally posted by CBCNational Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman shut down the 2004-05 season Wednesday after a series of 11th-hour offers and counter-proposals by the NHL and the Players' Association failed to produce a new collective bargaining agreement.
"When I stood before you in September, I said NHL teams would not play again until our economic problems had been solved," Bettman said in a prepared statement.
As I stand before you today, it is my sad duty to announce that because that solution has not yet been attained, it no longer is practical to conduct even an abbreviated season. Accordingly, I have no choice but to announce the formal cancellation of play for 2004-05."
Neither the Great Depression, nor two World Wars could prevent the NHL from awarding the Stanley Cup, but with the league and the NHLPA still divided over the issue of a salary cap, Lord Stanley's trophy will not be contested for the first time since 1919 when a Spanish flu epidemic wiped out the finals.
Congratulations to Bettmann, Goodenow, the players and the owners for killing off major professional hockey in the United States.
The NHL's Western Conference has nine teams in contention for the eight playoff spots. San Jose will finish 3rd. The rest? Well, it boils down to this: THE BATTLE FOR THE TOP: Seeds 1, 2 & 4 COMBATANTS: