NHL announces cancellation of 82 regular-season games, all those from Oct. 11 to Oct. 24 inclusive.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) October 4, 2012
The news comes a week after the league cancelled all of its preseason games and presents yet another indication that the lockout, which has already lasted three weeks, isn't going to end any time soon.
UPDATE: Thursday, Oct. 4 at 3:50 p.m. ET by Jessica Isner
NHLPA executive director Don Fehr has released a statement about the NHL's decision to cancel 82 regular-season games. From the NHLPA's Facebook page:
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.
---END OF UPDATE---
According to USA Today's Kevin M. Allen, players and owners met last weekend, but the matters they discussed were unrelated to "the key economic issues that are at the heart of the stalemated negotiations."
As interest in the NHL dwindles year by year, the league surely can't afford to suffer another year-long lockout—but that doesn't mean it won't happen.
According to TSN, the NHL has had four work stoppages in the last 20 years, including the most recent season-long lockout in 2004.
What It Means
It doesn't mean that the entire 2012-13 season will be a wash, even as plenty of the league's biggest stars join international teams to fill the void that has already been created by the lockout.
But still, according to The Washington Post's Katie Carrera, there's no imminent update on the horizon to the collective bargaining agreement that would allow for some (or any) of the season to go on as planned.
What Comes Next
Expect more discussions between the NHL and the NHLPA as they try to get this issue sorted out as quickly as possible.
Remember that last year's NBA lockout lasted a couple of months into the regular season, but eventually, the league and the players came to an agreement that allowed for a strike-shortened season. So there is hope.