Fans miss hockey now, and they'll likely be missing it for the entire 2012-13 season.
Hockey is not the most popular sport in the United States. It normally plays second fiddle to football, baseball and basketball.
But many Americans have been able to enjoy the great sport via the NHL.
Just think about the game for a second. It requires endurance as players have to skate around in full gear that weighs about 20-25 pounds, and even more if the player is a goalie.
The game requires technique. Players need to be able to send and receive accurate passes. They need to shoot the puck into just inches of open goal space. And just being able to skate is hard, but try starting and stopping, or try skating backwards and then sprinting forwards.
Of course, there is the physicality of the game. Players bash each other into walls, or take out their legs. And when checking does not do the job, hockey is the only major sport that encourages players to take their gloves off and show everyone what they are really made of.
This is such an amazing game, but fans will likely have to live without it for a season, and here are a few reasons why.
135 games have already been cancelled, with more to come?
Just a day before this article was written, the NHL officially cancelled all games through November 1.
On October 4, the league announced the first 82 games would be cancelled. But now that the league has extended to November 1, a combined total of 135 NHL games have been cancelled.
According to Sean Leahy of Yahoo! Sports, Commissioner Gary Bettman believes a full 82-game season can be played if an agreement is reached. Of course, NHL Players' Association executive director Donald Fehr believes an 82-game season is not going to happen, but something around 70 games is still possible.
What is worrisome is that the lockout is reaching into the season, and getting closer to the Winter Classic. The Classic is the highest viewed NHL game outside of the playoffs.
Last season's Classic brought in over 3.4 million viewers. The outdoor game is a different and more intriguing way of experiencing the game, and it's the NHL's signature event that it could build off of.
In order to save the event, according to Ansar Khan of MLive.com, the NHL needs to come to an agreement by Nov. 20.
The NHL needs this game if it wants to hang with the three main sports in this country, and no Winter Classic probably would spell the end for the season.
Sidney Crosby is one of many well-known players trying to get hockey back for its fans.
Obviously, there cannot be a hockey season if the league and the players do not agree on a new CBA. With the way talks went yesterday, it does not look like a new CBA will be coming anytime soon.
The main issue is how the hockey-related revenue will be distributed. The last CBA had the players receiving 57 percent to the owners' 43 percent.
The league's offer back on October 4, according to Kevin Allen of USAToday.com, contained a six-year deal with players receiving 49 percent and gradually decreasing to 47 percent. The players declined.
The most recent meeting that occurred found the league declining three proposals by the players.
According to the Associated Press via SI.com, the commissioner was "thoroughly disappointed."
Furthermore, the most recent talks could have hurt negotiations. "I am concerned based on the proposal that was made today that things are not progressing," he said. "To the contrary, I view the proposal made by the players' association in many ways a step backward."
This is not good for anyone.
The AP also mentioned that the league is looking for a 50-50 split, and Bettman said, "None of the three variations of player share that they gave us even began to approach 50-50, either at all or for some long period of time."
With no further negotiations scheduled, things are not looking well for NHL fans.
Would Commissioner Gary Bettman dare cancel an entire season again?
The scariest part of the NHL Lockout is that this has happened before.
Every league has its CBA issues, and even the NFL and NBA have had lockouts within the last two years. But no league has cancelled an entire season within the last 10 years, except for the NHL.
Back in 2004, the league cancelled the 2004-05 season because the owners and players could not come to an agreement. This is also the third lockout in 18 years for the NHL.
The league cancelled all but 48 games back in the 1994-95 season.
This seems to be a regular occurrence for the NHL, and that is scary. There is a saying that "the first one is always the hardest."
Unfortunately, this is not the first time. The NHL has done it before, they have done it recently and there is nothing to say they won't do it again.
Hockey fans everywhere are praying that there will be hockey this season, but there is a long road ahead for both the NHL and NHL Players' Association.