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Press Box: NHL cancels November game

The SportsXchange

NHL

Hockey fans have lost November.

After Thursday's self-imposed deadline to salvage a full 82-game season passed without a resolution, the league cancelled all games through the month of November. This is the third round of cancellations since the lockout began.

Don Fehr, NHLPA executive director, said in a statement Friday that the cancellations come "as no surprise."

With little having been resolved, the New Year's Day Winter Classic is also at risk, and could be canceled as early as next week, a source told ESPNNewYork.com.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said earlier this week that the negotiation process was likely to get tougher going forward. The league is also expected to inform the NHL Players' Association that its latest offer is off the table.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Friday via statement that the NHL "deeply regrets having to take this action." He further estimated that the total loss in hockey-related revenue would be $720 million.

The owners' latest proposal included a 50-50 revenue split and an allowance to pay existing player contracts with deferred payments, but was contingent on playing an 82-game season, Daly told ESPN.com. The offer was withdrawn when it became apparent that an 82-game season wasn't possible.

The NHLPA hasn't made any offers since the league rejected three of its proposals last week.

In a statement, Fehr said the owners rejected the proposals "after considering them for only 10 minutes. The message from the owners seems to be: if you don't give us exactly what we want, there is no point in talking. They have shown they are very good at delivering deadlines and demands, but we need a willing partner to negotiate. We hope they return to the table in order to get the players back on the ice soon."

AUTO

Cleared to race again following a concussion, Dale Earnhardt Jr. hopes other drivers will be more proactive regarding head injuries.

"I hate the attention it got," Earnhardt told reporters Friday at Martinsville Speedway, where is preparing for Sunday's race. "I hate being in front of you guys here talking about it. But I'm glad I did what I did, took the time off, made the choices I made. I had to do it. I knew something wasn't right. You can't (ignore) concussions. It's really dangerous doing that."

Earnhardt said that the headaches he reported Oct. 12 -- that led to neurosurgeon Dr. Jerry Petty forbid him from driving for two weeks -- are gone.

Earnhardt sat out five days with headaches stemming from a crash at Talladega Superspeedway. It was the second time in six weeks he had suffered symptoms of a concussion. He said the Kansas concussion had more to do with frontal lobe headaches, and said the second one was caused by a lot of "anxiety and emotional stuff."

MLS

Major League Soccer fined FC Dallas defender Jair Benitez for "his act of embellishment which brought the game into disrepute" against the Seattle Sounders FC on Oct. 21.

LA Galaxy midfielder Robbie Keane was fined for criticizing officials after a game against San Jose on Oct. 21.

Both fines were for an undisclosed amount, which will be donated to the charitable partners of MLS W.O.R.K.S. and the MLS Players Union.
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