Morning Links: Day 34 of lockout

  • Gary Bettman strongly hinted that the league is close to cancelling the Winter Classic. “Under these circumstances and uncertainty, we’re not going to commit millions of dollars if we don’t think we’re playing,” Bettman said. “The Winter Classic time frame, in terms of making that decision, is rapidly approaching.” (Detroit News)

  • Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews and Shane Doan all expressed their disappointment at the league's reaction to the NHLPA's three proposals on Thursday. “You come with three proposals, thinking you have a chance to gain momentum and it’s shutdown within 10 minutes,” Crosby said.

    “It’s not even given a day to think about or crunch numbers. It’s shutdown within minutes. That doesn’t seem like a group that’s willing to negotiate. I mean, that’s pretty clearly take it or leave it.” (The Globe and Mail)

  • Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges said he didn’t think the players’ stance of wanting full value of their contracts was unreasonable. “Isn’t that what a contract is? You don’t say you’re going to pay someone a certain amount and then say you’re going to take it back. … They say they want a deal, but they’re going to keep us out until they get what they want,” Gorges said.

    Hal Gill also tweeted his frustrations: “I hate myself for thinking the owners would be reasonable. Fool me twice, shame on me. Bigger let down than Fruit Stripe gum.” (Montreal Gazette)

  • The Flames’ player representative Matt Stajan said the owners are “keen on having direct cuts, and I don’t think you see any of that in any of the major sports or any job in the world where you slash all the salaries by 13 percent.” (Calgary Herald)

  • According to a Swedish news report, Nicklas Backstrom has agreed to join Capitals teammate Alex Ovechkin with the KHL’s Dynamo Moscow. (TSN)

  • Andrei Markov caused a stir even when he clarified comments he made about have “to make a decision” about returning to the NHL depending on how fair the next collective bargaining agreement is. (Montreal Gazette)

  • Hockey fan Barry Murphy waited outside the NHLPA headquarters for eight hours to get a few seconds of face time with commissioner Gary Bettman. (Toronto Star)