The NHL on Monday canceled all games through Dec. 30 in what could be the penultimate or final schedule alteration before the season is wiped out.
There’s still time for that, and Monday’s news came as no surprise. There was no chance that games would begin Dec. 15. With this cancellation, the NHL left the door open for a New Year’s Eve start, which, for the Washington Capitals, could mean a visit to the Pittsburgh Penguins as originally scheduled.
But even that’s unlikely. What’s looking more possible is a 48-game season beginning sometime in January. The 1994-95 season began Jan. 20 after the league and NHL Players’ Association reached a deal Jan. 11.
Eight more Caps games were canceled Monday. A total of 526 are gone, or 42.8 percent of the schedule. If a new collective bargaining agreement is reached, a condensed schedule would have to be used to fit in 48 or more games.