Just in time for Christmas, the NHL has made what might prove to be the final round of regular season segment cancellations on Thursday.
The NHL announced they have cancelled the 2012-13 NHL schedule through Jan. 14 and its expected any further cancellation announcements will include the entire hockey season. That gives the NHL and NHLPA a do-or-die date of around Jan. 15 to work out a deal, or the league could experience a crippling second entire season cancellation in the last eight years.
A total of 625 regular season games have been cancelled from Oct. 11 through Jan. 14 a span that has wiped out 50.8 percent of the regular season. Per Pulver Sports analyst Daniel Tolensky, the NHL has cancelled an amazing 17.7 percent of their regular season games since 2004 a figure that means theyve cancelled roughly one out of every five regular season games due to lockoutlabor issues over the last eight years.
One thing to keep in mind, however: the NHL was going to re-work the regular season schedule no matter what as they whittle things down to a 48-game shortened regular season. So if the NHL and NHLPA can find common ground for a CBA agreement, the 2012-13 regular season could begin in early January after a post-Christmas training camp.
Another thing to keep in mind: the 1994-95 NHL season opened their 48-game shortened schedule on Jan. 21, thought the NHL has maintained that they wont wait so long to make a decision this time.
The NHLPA is currently undergoing a week-long vote among their 700 plus members on allowing their leadership to file a disclaimer of interest that would effectively dissolve the players union. The disclaimer of interest could allow the players to file anti-trust lawsuits against the league or allow the league to cancel all current player contracts depending on possible rulings in federal court.