Reports have indicated that the NHL will announce that they are cancelling all games through November 30th. The move brings the number of games lost to the lockout to a whopping 326, or, it has claimed 26.5% of the 2012-13 season (Aaron Portzline).
As with the two waves of cancellations we dealt with earlier, there's plenty of reasons to be pessimistic over this announcement and even one or two reasons to be a bit optimistic.
We'll start with the obligatory "It could have been worse" statement. While the NHL removing another month from the schedule is horrible and even sickening news, they could have easily removed a much larger chunk. As for now, the All-Star Game is still in play (Source). As for now, the Winter Classic is also still in play. As for now, a decent segment of the 2012-13 season is still a possibility as teams could probably expect to play in roughly 60 games if this is the last wave of cancellations (Source).
Still, let's not link too many "positives" to the fact the NHL is cancelling games - again. Sure, they could have canceled more games but that shouldn't take away from the fact the earliest we might (keyword might) see hockey is December as the two sides squabble like children.
Let's also not be overly optimistic about the new deadline the NHL is imposing by this third wave. We've already seen two deadlines pass and little come to fruition. It's quite apparent that neither side is any hurry to get a deal done. Time is of the essence to fans only.
As always, I'll end this article with the wish that this will be the last time I have to write about games being removed from the schedule. If there's a fourth wave, it will be a pretty significant one that should wipe out the All-Star Game and the Winter Classic, two of the NHL's prized jewels. Let's hope it doesn't get to that point.
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Been a hockey fan for over 50 years, but this nonsense with the NHL and players is too much. They are nothing but greedy bastards. I really hope they never get a deal done. It would be in the best interest of all the fans. If these people really had to work like the rest of us, then they would have something to complain about.
Given past experience, and the outcomes so far this time around, I'd go ahead and say that the rest of the season has only not been cancelled in name only. There is no hurry to get the season started on the side of either party, or really, it seems, any interest in doing so. I would say it's about as interesting as watching grass grow, at this point, but at least grass makes measurable progress.
@treebark You are the exact person the NHL can not afford to lose. The casual fans were gone after the first wave of canceled games. The second and third wave of cancellations only confirmed that fact. Now you, and other, serious fans are jumping ship too. These are the fans that spend the most and are worth the most to the NHL. The league can NOT afford to lose them yet they're trying their best to do so.
@miendiem For a while now I have been a bit more optimistic than you that something would get done. My prediction has been that Dec. 1st will be the first day of the new season. That's still a possibility. However, as the two sides continue to bicker, I find myself doubting my own prediction. We'll revisit this on the 1st of December.
@David Rogers The interesting part is, if you go back to my original prediction in the Fans Predict post you did back in the middle of September, mid-December would be right in line with it. At this point, I'm really not that optimistic anymore, though I'd still prefer to be right than have the date slide by even that point.