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NHLs Season Officially Circling the Drain

Dec 21, 2012, 3:58 AM EDT

You might say they’re on the home stretch, except that
implies the end is near. In the case of the NHL lockout, there is most definitely
a finish line, but that doesn’t mean either side will cross it in time to save
this season.

The league announced on Thursday its decision to cancel
games through January 14; another announcement will claim the remainder of the

I mean it. This is the end of the road. There are no more
rounds of cancellations. If the puck doesn’t drop on or around the 15th,
the 2012-13 season is over before it ever began.

As dire as that all might sound though, imposing a true
deadline – even if unofficial – could be what finally pushes these negotiations
over the top.

People tend to have a way of getting things done when they
absolutely must.

The players’ union claims the two sides are close. The league
contends they truly are not. It’s all semantics. If they’re going to reach a
deal, there is no other time – unless we’re really gonna flush a whole year. Even
now, while I won’t go so far as to guarantee there will be a season, it’s
really hard to believe there wouldn’t be one.

The alarm is buzzing, and there are no more minutes to spare
for the snooze button. Everybody seems to realize this, so it should be only a
matter of time now.

Or not. Whatever.

>> NHL cancels all games through Jan. 14 [CSN]