NHL Lockout: Why the Loss of the All-Star Game Is No Big Deal in the Long Run

Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistNovember 23, 2012

The 2013 NHL All-Star weekend has been canceled as a result of the lockout.
The 2013 NHL All-Star weekend has been canceled as a result of the lockout.Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The NHL lockout goes on, and the league continues to cancel games and big events.

In the last round of cancellations, the Winter Classic got the ax. This time, it's the annual NHL All-Star Weekend.

The event has been scheduled for the Nationwide Arena in Columbus for the weekend of Jan. 26-27.

The Columbus Blue Jackets have been to the postseason once in their history, so getting a chance to host the All-Star Weekend would have given the organization a rare opportunity to get a taste of the NHL's limelight.

There will be no skills competition, no game for first- and second-year players and there will be no free-wheeling All-Star game.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly paid lip service to Ohio hockey fans by saying the league would attempt to reschedule a future All-Star Weekend to Columbus.

"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," Daly said, via NHL.com.

The cancellation of the All-Star Weekend is not the least bit surprising. The lockout will be in its fourth calendar month in December, so it seemed obvious that there would be no opportunities for anything as frivolous as All-Star Weekend.

It's normally an exciting event for players who are selected to participate, and the game's most impressionable young fans who get a chance to see the majority of the game's best players on the ice at the same time.

However, the All-Star Weekend has nothing to do with crucial regular-season games that decide who gets into the postseason.

Even if an agreement could be reached in the next week, it seems that the NHL would be down to about 60 to 65 games during the regular season, and perhaps less.

That means the NHL couldn't have kept the All-Star Weekend on the schedule. It would not have been a conscientious move.

Time appears to be running out to save the season. In addition to canceling the All-Star Weekend, the NHL also axed all games through Dec. 14. So far, 422 regular-season games have been lopped off the schedule. That means 34.3 games that were originally on the schedule will not be played this season.

Some games could be made up, and the NHL could run a compressed schedule much as the NBA did last year when that league locked out its players.

Regular-season games did not begin in the NBA until Christmas Day, and each team played 66 regular-season games last year.

There may be one or two more round of cancellations before the league pulls the plug on the season. It seems that early-to-mid January might be the latest an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement could be reached in order to save some of the 2012-13 season.

The 1994-95 season was shortened by a lockout. Teams did not begin regular-season play until Jan. 20, and the regular season consisted for 48 regular-season games. The regular season concluded May 3 that season.