Thursday, October 4, 2012

NHL cancels first two weeks of regular season

Games from Oct. 11-24 are wiped out;
Blues lose five games, including three at home

ST. LOUIS -- The National Hockey League made official what nobody wanted to hear but knew was inevitable: the first two weeks of the regular season have been canceled.

The league made the formal announcement through a release early Thursday afternoon that a total of 82 games affecting the 32 teams have been wiped out because of the ongoing league lockout, which the league claimed "was necessary because
of the absence of a Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL Players' Association and the NHL."

The start of the regular season was to begin on Oct. 11.

In a statement released by the NHLPA, executive director Don Fehr said: "The decision to cancel the first two weeks of the NHL season is the unilateral choice of the NHL owners. If the owners truly cared about the game and the fans, they would lift the lockout and allow the season to begin on time while negotiations continue. A lockout should be the last resort in bargaining, not the strategy of first resort. For nearly 20 years, the owners have elected to lock out the players in an effort to secure massive concessions. Nevertheless, the players remain committed to playing hockey while the parties work to reach a deal that is fair for both sides. We hope we will soon have a willing negotiating partner."

As far as the Blues are concerned, they were in Colorado against the Avalanche on Oct. 11. The Blues will lose a total of five games, including Oct. 13 at Nashville, the home opener on Oct. 18 vs. Detroit as well as home games on Oct. 20 against Minnesota and Oct. 23 against Chicago.

And with no deal imminent between the league and NHLPA, it is grim at best that the season would begin on Oct. 25, which is the next date to begin eliminating games.

The Blues have a home game scheduled on the 25th against the Avalanche.

The entire preseason schedule was already canceled, and the league claims that it lost in excess of $100 million in revenue.

The two sides last met on Tuesday in New York but no progress was made. No more talks are scheduled officially but could resume at any time.  

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