When will there be NHL hockey again? Not any time soon according to Blues’ winger Keith Tkachuk, “I expect it’ll be the whole year because (the owners) want a salary cap and there’s not a chance in the world we’re going to give them one.” Tkachuk was referring to the player lockout which officially began last night at 11:01 PM Central time, but there was no chance of it being avoided when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman addressed the media yesterday afternoon. He blasted the players’ union for what he called “It is unforgivable that this union could see this bleak day approaching and not lift a finger to prevent its arrival.” The owners and players met last Thursday, but were still far apart in their discussions and haven’t met since. Bettman claimed on Wednesday, that the owners have lost $1.8 billion dollars during the term of the last collective bargaining agreement and the salaries have risen to an average of $1.4 million per year. He also contended that only 10 of the 30 NHL franchises are turning a profit. The answer, according to the owners is a salary cap, which the union has refused to accept in any form. In July, the NHL offered six proposals and the two sides discussed them for eight hours and all six were turned down by the players. Tkachuk says it’s the owners who are being inflexible, “We tried as players to get something done and it was Bettman walking in (saying) ‘Salary cap or nothing.’ It leaves us in a position where, it gives us no choice.” The Blues were scheduled to start their season on Friday, October 15, at home against the Blackhawks. Ticket sales have been halted until the lockout ends.