The preseason was canceled. Employees around the league have either lost their job or had their salary slashed. These facts aside, the NHL lockout wouldn't truly hit home for most hockey fans until regular season games were canceled. Hope remained that the damage would be minimal.
That hope has all but faded as the NHL announced that they have canceled the first two weeks of the regular season through October 24th, taking 82 games off the schedule (NHL.com).
That's 6.7% of the regular season that's been cancelled now.
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) October 4, 2012
It's official – both sides have lost. I've said it numerous times that as soon as regular season games are canceled, neither side can emerge a victor in this negotiating process. There is absolutely no justification as to why a new deal hasn't been reached when the two sides have had ages to figure one out. It's as if both the players and owners forget that the ends probably won't justify the means. The players might get that higher % they are after but when you figure in lost salary during the lockout, not much ground would be gained.
NHL has canceled the schedule for Oct. 11through Oct. 24. Not games – the schedule. Hence, could stil cram in 82 game season if CBA settled.
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) October 4, 2012
Still, some are finding optimism. The NHL said they were cancelling the first two weeks of their schedule, not the games. This wording gives hope that any missed games might be rescheduled at a later date since the games themselves were never canceled, only the scheduling of said games. Is this false optimism? Probably, but it is there in the wording. Interpret as you will.
Personally, I struggle to find any optimism in this. Sure, they did word it in a way that would theoretically allow them to reschedule. However, the two sides would still need to figure out a deal in a hurry in order to prevent the season from going straight into summer. That's where the theory of rescheduling crumbles. The two sides appear as distant as ever, meaning a new deal being reached in November or even at latest, December seems unlikely. More and more players are heading to Europe. That doesn't bode well for fans counting on an 82-game season, or even a reduced season.
Congratulations, NHL owners and NHL players. You had one job to do and you blew it. You had months and months to figure this out. Will the conclusion of all this be worth the damage it causes? I doubt it.