7 more Sharks games axed as NHL cancels games through Dec. 14

Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE

Almost thirty-five percent of the season has now been erased by the lockout as the NHL announced the cancellation of all scheduled games through mid-December, as well as the January All-Star Game in Columbus.

Unsurprisingly, given that this week's CBA proposal by the players' association wasn't met with immediate approval by the league, Gary Bettman and the NHL announced earlier today the cancellation of all scheduled games through December 14th. This increases the overall total of games cancelled during the lockout to 422, or nearly 35% of the 1230-game docket. Here's the official press release:

The National Hockey League announced today the cancellation of the 2012-13 regular-season schedule through December 14. The NHL also announced the cancellation of the 2013 NHL All-Star Weekend scheduled for Jan. 26-27 in Columbus, Ohio. The cancellations are necessary due to the absence of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL Players' Association and the NHL.

A total of 422 regular-season games -- 34.3 percent of the season -- were scheduled for Oct. 11 through Dec. 14.

"The reality of losing more regular-season games as well as the 2013 NHL All-Star Weekend in Columbus is extremely disappointing," said NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. "We feel badly for NHL fans and particularly those in Columbus, and we intend to work closely with the Blue Jackets organization to return the NHL All-Star events to Columbus and their fans as quickly as possible."

Seven Sharks games were slated for the first half of December, including contests in Detroit, Chicago, Buffalo and Philadelphia and home games against the Stars, Canucks, Oilers and Blue Jackets. Speaking of the Jackets, the NHL also cancelled the January 27th All-Star Game in Columbus. Which, again, isn't remotely surprising given that even if the sides come to an agreement and a season begins it would make no sense to break for All-Star weekend in what would certainly be a compressed schedule, not to mention the awkwardness of staging a celebratory corporate schmoozefest weeks after an increasingly bitter labor standoff. Although Jack Johnson in an All-Star Game would have been kind of funny to watch.

If there is a season (and there's reason to believe there will be as the sides remain divided by relatively little in a financial sense), it's probably a given at this point that it won't begin until the new year. A 48-game schedule, like the one the league played during the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season, remains a possibility.

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