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 NHL cancels games through Jan. 14

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Galax Steeler

Galax Steeler

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PostSubject: NHL cancels games through Jan. 14   NHL cancels games through Jan. 14 EmptySat Dec 22, 2012 1:54 pm

The latest round of cancellations may have the NHL on the brink of losing a second season in eight years.

The league on Thursday sacked games through Jan. 14.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Wednesday on a Canadian radio station that contests must begin by “mid-January,” though he later told another radio station that games will be played this season.

The league will not play fewer than 48 games, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has said.

If there is NHL action this season, teams will play only games within their conference, so a new schedule will be drafted if a labor contract is agreed upon and ratified.

This round of cancellations brings the total number of missed Penguins games to 42, including 20 at Consol Energy Center. A Penguins home game is worth about $2.1 million to the region, according to tourism agency VisitPittsburgh.

The Penguins said they have lost 45 season ticket holders since the lockout began Sept. 15, and the franchise waiting list is at 9,500. The season ticket waiting list dates to the 2007-08 season. Fans are required to make a one-time, $200 payment for inclusion.

The Penguins did not lay off employees during the 2004-05 lockout, though some staffers left for other jobs. The team has not laid off employees during this lockout and reiterated Thursday there are no plans to do so.

The NHL canceled the 2004-05 season on Feb. 16, 2005. The 1995 shortened season, also 48 games, began nine days after the NHL and Players‘ Association agreed to a contract Jan. 11.

This lockout dates to Sept. 15, when the last labor contract expired. The sides are divided on many big issues, Daly said.

Union officials and players have said the sides are close.

Daly said no bargaining sessions are planned. The sides have not bargained in person since meetings Dec. 5-6 in New York.

The union is willing to resume bargaining immediately, executive director Donald Fehr said Wednesday.

Players have until noon Friday to vote on authorizing the union executive committee to file a disclaimer of interest with the U.S. Department of Labor. If enacted, that move immediately would disband the union and end collective bargaining.

All but one Penguins player had voted as of Thursday afternoon. Two-thirds of more than 700 union players must approve authorization, though NHLPA officials have not said they are set on implementing the strategy.

Only three Penguins attended an on-ice workout Thursday at Southpointe. Brooks Orpik was joined by fellow defensemen Ben Lovejoy and Deryk Engelland.

Other Southpointe regulars during the lockout — captain Sidney Crosby, union rep Craig Adams and veterans Matt Cooke, Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis — have left their Pittsburgh-area homes to spend Christmas week with family in Canada.

A larger group of Penguins is expected to reconvene at Southpointe late next week.

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