CHICAGO -- Add two more cancelled games to the five already eliminated from the Chicago Blackhawks' schedule as all NHL contests were cancelled through Nov.1, the league announced on Friday.
The decision comes one day after talks broke down between the NHL and the players association in an attempt to end a work stoppage that has canceled the entire preseason and now the first month of the regular season.
Friday’s announcement means home games against San Jose on Oct. 27 and Phoenix on Oct. 30 won’t be played as scheduled. Earlier in the week the league made a proposal to keep an 82-game season intact with a Nov.2 start date but it was quickly rejected by the players association. Unless an agreement is reached by Oct. 26 the league has indicated it’s doubtful a full schedule of games could be accommodated.
The work stoppage began on Sept. 16 a day after the previous collective bargaining agreement between the league and its players expired. The players were “locked out” on that date and subsequently both preseason and regular season games were canceled. Though the sides have been talking, little progress has been made. The next announcement by the league will undoubtedly cancel a chunk of games in November and as the calendar moves into the new month the league’s marquee midseason game -- the Winter Classic -- would be in jeopardy.
Though the news this week wasn’t good in terms of a full season, there is still potentially plenty of time before a decision on the balance of the entire season has to be made. In 2004-2005, the league didn’t cancel the entire year until mid-February.