The NHL continues to obliterate the 2012-2013 schedule, eliminating another chunk of games on Monday due to its labor dispute with locked-out players. Monday's cancellations remove scheduled games through Dec. 30, effectively erasing all but one day of the 2012 portion of the season.
The lack of an agreement between the two sides has put the league dangerously close to losing the entire season for the second time since the 2004-2005 season was canceled due to a labor dispute. The Associated Press reports Commissioner Gary Bettman has said the league will not hold a regular-season with less than a 48 game schedule, which is the number of games that were played during the lockout-shortened 1994-1995 NHL season.
"When it gets to the point where we can't play a season with integrity, with a representative schedule, then we'll be done," Bettman said on Thursday. "If you go back in history, in '94-'95 I think we played 48 games. I can't imagine wanting to play fewer than that."
If a deal were to be reached soon, the league would likely be forced to rework the schedule to fit a reasonable number of games.
NHL owners and players met several times in New York last week in an attempt to work closer to a deal. Negotiations between the two sides seemed to progress early on in the week, but after the NHL rejected the union's latest offer, talks collapsed and once again left both sides displeased with one another. While there are currently no future meetings scheduled between the owners and the players' association, The Associated Press is reporting that NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said Sunday the sides are trying to restart talks this week, but that nothing had been completed regarding a meeting with the union.
The latest round of cancellations brings the total number of games lost to 526, accounting for nearly 43 percent of the 2012-2013 schedule.
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