At this point, no one is surprised.
For the some-teenth time this season, the NHL officially canceled another slate of games (via SportsCenter):
BREAKING: NHL announces the cancellation of 2012-13 regular-season schedule through January 14.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 20, 2012
I'm not exactly sure if the word "breaking" works when we all knew it was coming.
And unfortunately, unless something incredibly drastic happens very soon, we all know the official cancellation of the entire 2012-13 season is also coming.
While there are plenty of reasons the year is quickly circling down the drain, the main reason is pretty simple.
Who is to blame for all of this
Gary Bettman, the commissioner of the NHL, and Donald Fehr, the executive director of the NHL Players Association, have been unable to strike a deal even during the bleakest of times.
Their inability to communicate with each other's party, their unwillingness to act with any type of haste in the most precarious situations, their hesitancy to constantly meet and work through the night like the NBA was willing to do have all killed any chance of NHL games taking place this season.
Some people, like The Score, believe the fault should fall on Bettman, who has been through this before:
How The Bettman Stole The NHL Season, NHL cancels games through January 14. twitter.com/theScore/statu…— The Score (@theScore) December 20, 2012
Some people believe it's the fault of the players and owners.
Do you expect to see an NHL game this season?
In retrospect, both sides are to blame, but the worst part of all of this is simply that it doesn't seem like either side cares about the fans.
And as the fans begin to feel slighted—and believe me, they are far past just that—the ability to even hope for a fraction of the season continues to dwindle.
At this point, all hope is lost. The only thing we can do now is pray the 2013-14 season isn't lost, too.