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No NHL Hockey For The Holidays

Time is becoming a factor in ending the lockout as the league officially cancelled more games this week.

Several weeks ago the NHL cancelled games through Dec. 14, costing the league 422 regular-season games in total. But on Monday – or Day 86 – the lockout claimed another 104. 

The league announced it was cancelling games through Dec. 30, which equates to almost 43 percent of the regular season. 

Gone are the Winter Classic and the All-Star Game and while fans wish the league would just cancel the season rather than delay the inevitable, there’s still time to get a deal in place.  But with the league and the NHLPA still in a stalemate on a new collective bargaining agreement, the outcome remains grim.  Both sides are set to meet again Wednesday and pick up the pieces of what appeared to be a potential deal last week, at least from Donald Fehr and the players’ point of view.

The two sides met for three consecutive days at the end of the week, in what were some of the longest meetings of the entire lockout – but those sessions were between only players and owners.  With no officials – except Fehr and Bill Daly – the goal was to get a different view of the negotiation process.

Significant efforts were made, or so it seemed.  Proposals were made by both sides, but it all soured after the NHLPA’s proposal and an accompanying press conference showed a stoic Fehr admitting he believed their latest effort fixed most of the league’s issues.  Commissioner Gary Bettman disagreed shortly after in an emotional press conference and immediately took every offer the league had made off the table.

Announcing the details might have been a ploy by Fehr to make the NHL out to be the bad guy if it didn’t except the deal.  If that was the case, it worked. But while fans continue to flip-flop on who gets the blame, it’s hard to argue that both parties have played too many games and should be held accountable for losing the league hundreds of millions of dollars, as fans continue to suffer yet again.

Time is running out for the NHL as it continues to flirt with suffering the same fate as the 2004-05 season – the only year names weren’t etched into the Stanley Cup.  The league has played a shortened season in the modern era, when in 1995 the NHL played a 48-game, lockout shortened season.

Ed is the lead hockey writer and a sports contributor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @PhillyEdMiller, and subscribe on Facebook @ CraveOnlineSports.

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