NHL finally cancels games that matter; six Sharks games axed

Predictably, the league wipes the regular season schedule clean through October 24th although a compressed 82-game schedule remains technically possible if extremely unlikely.

It was really only a matter of time. A week after wiping out the entire preseason schedule, the NHL announced today that the ownership-imposed lockout will ramble on nearly through the end of October. The league canceled 82 regular season games in all, erasing all matchups slated to take place from the scheduled opening night of October 11th through October 24th. Here's the official press release:

NEW YORK -- The National Hockey League announced today the cancellation of the 2012-13 regular-season schedule through October 24. A total of 82 regular-season games were scheduled for Oct. 11 through Oct. 24.

The cancellation was necessary because of the absence of a Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL Players' Association and the NHL.

Six Sharks games would appear to be the casualties: the Oct. 12th season opener in Anaheim, games at the Tank from Oct. 15th through 20th against the Rangers, Oilers and Hurricanes and a game in Denver on the 24th. However, the ambiguity of the press release does still technically leave open the possibility of those games being played. While it's clear that currently scheduled contests through the 24th are canned, should the league and PA come to an agreement before the start of November, it's still logistically possible for a compressed 82-game schedule to be played, although there's no guarantee it would resemble the current schedule due to questions of arena availability.

Of course, that's probably an incredibly pollyannish view at this point. Especially when juxtaposed with actual CBA negotiation news, like that Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg had some ominous comments for the media earlier today, stating "It feels, right now, like if we don’t give everything that they want, it doesn’t really matter. And we will never do that." Gulp.