Having already canceled all scheduled games through the end of this week, the NHL went a step further today in canceling all contests through December 30th, a move made inevitable by CBA talks turning sour.
Despite teasing us with the prospect as little as a week ago, the NHL will reportedly announce today that there will be no hockey on Christmas. Or any of the weeks prior to Christmas, for that matter. Or the five days following December 25th. In a move that has seemed inevitable since Thursday's bizarre breakdown in CBA negotiations, the league canceled all games scheduled through December 30th (having already canceled all games through December 14th), a total of 104 additional contests league-wide and seven involving the Sharks.
It seems almost pointless to list the specific Sharks games axed by this move since it's unlikely they would have been played as scheduled even if the league and union had come to an agreement last week but here goes: games in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Anaheim, a home-and-home series with the Kings and an additional home date against the Stars are the casualties of this most recent round of cancellations.
So why didn't the NHL just go ahead and cancel the entire remainder of their December schedule? Well, there are thirteen games slated for New Year's Eve (the Sharks, Kings, Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs are the only teams not in action)—including a tilt between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals—that the league probably hopes can proceed as slated and act as Opening Night should the sides reach an agreement before then. Because who doesn't want Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin shoved down their throat the moment the NHL emerges from yet another bitter and tumultuous lockout?
Of course the greatest tragedy in all this is that we'll be deprived of another delightfully awkward Sharks holiday video.