Oct 11, 2012, 6:00 PM EDT
The Wells Fargo Center was supposed to play host to a nationally televised puck drop tonight, but that game between the Flyers and Bruins along with two weeks worth of NHL schedule were cancelled last Thursday. With the owners and players still stuck at an impasse, further cancellations are inevitable. But you already knew that.
Even if the lockout miraculously ended at this very moment instead, there is virtually no way to get teams back together and have them playing meaningful hockey in two weeks. That’s probably too abbreviated for training camp and preseason to begin with, especially accounting for the fact that many players are overseas further complicates any timetable. But you already knew that.
So now whatever faint hope the NHL could still fit an 82-game schedule into this season is dead, and with it, whatever remaining urgency to get this dispute resolved. The next date that the league will truly be interested in saving is January 1, the Winter Classic, which falls in line with many pre-lockout predictions. It’s as if both sides had predetermined the first few months would be replaced by a staring contest. But you already knew that.
Only the longer this lingers, the more concerns grow the season actually could be lost entirely. That seemed unlikely in the beginning, but neither side appears to be willing to budge at the moment. More troublesome yet, lately there have been whispers the union’s next move may be to go after the salary cap — the very fight to implement one being what cost them 04-05 in the first place.
This thing could get ugly. But you already knew that, too.
So here we are on opening night, no hockey game to attend, or blog about, or discuss with a friend over a beer, or enjoy in any way, shape, or form. I’m sure it will come back, probably in time for the Winter Classic, but what are we supposed to do ’til then?
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