With no end to the lockout in sight, the NHL on Friday canceled all games through Dec. 14 and All-Star Weekend, which was set for Columbus in late January.
This latest round of cancellations brought the total of games wiped out to 422, or 34.3 percent of the season. Six more Washington Capitals games were axed, for those still counting. In reality there was no way to assume the schedule would have picked up as planned Dec. 1, anyway, and if there is a 2012-13 season it will likely include a brand new set of games.
Canceling the All-Star Game was not a surprise. The NHL recently canceled the Winter Classic, only to declare that the 2014 event will be at Michigan Stadium between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs.
No such guarantee was made Friday about returning to Columbus.
“The reality of losing more regular-season games as well as the 2013 NHL All-Star Weekend in Columbus is extremely disappointing,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement. “We feel badly for NHL fans and particularly those in Columbus, and we intend to work closely with the Blue Jackets organization to return the NHL All-Star events to Columbus and their fans as quickly as possible.”
NHL Players’ Association executive director Donald Fehr also released a statement on the cancellation:
“On Wednesday, the players presented a comprehensive proposal, once again moving in the owners’ direction in order to get the game back on the ice. The gap that remains on the core economic issues is $182 million. On Wednesday, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said that the league is losing $18-20 million per day during the lockout, therefore two more weeks of cancelled games far exceeds the current economic gap. It makes the NHL’s announcement of further game cancellations, including the 2013 All-Star Weekend, all the more unnecessary, and disappointing for all hockey fans — especially those in Columbus. The players remain ready to negotiate but we require a willing negotiating partner.”