NHL Lockout

NHL Lockout Extended to Dec. 30: Why Game Cancellations Don't Mean Anything

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 05: (L-R) Jeremy Jacobs of the Boston Bruins, Larry Tanenbaum of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Bill Daly of the NHL discuss negotiations at the Westin Times Square on December 5, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Mark JonesSenior Analyst IDecember 11, 2012

Emotions surrounding the ongoing 2012 NHL lockout took another pessimistic turn Monday as the league officially cancelled games well past Christmas Day.

For all realistic purposes, however, the three-week cancellation was simply trivial.

At any point in time, a hypothetical 14- to 17-day buffer exists between the current day and the earliest possible start of a shortened NHL season.

Upon the proclamation of a CBA agreement, a tedious owner/player voting process and up-to-two-week-long training camp would still occur before Opening Day.

The 2011 NBA lockout, in fact, rambled on for a whopping 30 days after a deal was announced (Nov. 25) until games began Dec. 25. Training camps didn't even begin for two weeks after the end of negotiations, delayed by a complicated ratification process on both sides of the aisle.

While the NHL would likely manage to shorten that time frame—unlike the NHLPA, the NBPA had legally disbanded prior to the CBA agreement—the official date until which games have been cancelled will mean little when a contract is finally reached.

Moreover, it's worth remembering that, despite the pain of seeing a few precious more weeks of hockey flushed down the drain, the original 2012-13 season is already toast—very burnt toast.

Whether it be 48 or 56 games, any shortened season would be most certainly played with an entirely re-created schedule. It's possible that schedule could also include only in-conference games—note that four meetings each between 14 conference opponents would total 56 matches per team.

Simply put, every one of the 1,230 originally-scheduled games this season have, in truth, already been cancelled. 

Fortunately, last week's negotiation catastrophe has faded into an increasing itch to restore communications.

As bleak as it seemed Thursday following emotional press conferences in NYC, both sides are pushing their leaders to get back to the table.

— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) December 9, 2012

Players are scrapping to keep as much as they can. But they must consider point of diminishing returns, can't misread when it gets worse.

— Nick Cotsonika (@cotsonika) December 10, 2012

The two sides could be planning their next session for Wednesday:

The #NHL and #NHLPA hope to return to the table by Wednesday. That requires agreement by both sides and agreement never comes easy.

— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) December 10, 2012

Although opinions vary tremendously on the current state of CBA negotiations, Monday's 20-day cancellation of games will carry little weight as the stalemate continues.

 

Mark Jones has been a Bleacher Report featured columnist since 2009. He has written more than 435 articles and received over 775,000 reads. 

Visit his profile to read more, or follow him on Twitter.

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