Even though the league and NHL Players’ Association are set to meet this weekend, there won’t be hockey anytime soon. On Thursday the NHL officially canceled the remainder of the preseason, all games through Oct. 8.
That means the loss of regular-season games is not far behind, barring a last-minute, Hail Mary, miracle deal on a new collective bargaining agreement.
The Washington Capitals are set to open the regular season Oct. 12 at Verizon Center against the New Jersey Devils, then travel to face the Ottawa Senators the following day. Given what it would take to have players ready, it’s really difficult to imagine any teams playing opening weekend.
Thursday’s announcement was more of a formality than anything else. Already dozens of players signed to play in Europe, including a few rank-and-file North Americans, which is perhaps an indication that the lockout could go longer than even most expected.