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The NHL has officially canceled the preseason based on the lack of a collective bargaining agreement.
We all knew this was coming. The NHL had previously cancelled the preseason up to September 30th, but it's September 27th now and the first meeting between the NHL and NHLPA post the lockout announcement on September 15th is supposed to be tomorrow.
There are an announcement that the one off meeting tomorrow has been changed to three days of meetings, so that could be some good news.
There is still the incredibly remote possibility that this deal could get done without missing any games that matter.
What does this mean for the Montreal Canadiens? Well they miss a few more home dates in the preseason, and since they charge full price for those games, I'm guessing they lose a lot of money.
Now however, things get serious for the players. Before this time, both sides could play around with brinkmanship and no one was really losing much, but starting in the second week of October, the NHL players begin to lose salary.
Every game missed is tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket for the average NHL player, so the game becomes whether players think it's worth losing salary now in order to not lose as much potential salary down the line. The players do seem very united under Donald Fehr, so it could be a long time until serious negotiation begins. Remember that this weekend's meetings are supposed to be on minor economic issues, not percent of HRR.
Here's the official press release:
NEW YORK – The National Hockey League announced today the cancellation of the remainder of the 2012 preseason schedule.
The cancellation of the preseason schedule was necessary because of the absence of a Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL Players’ Association and the NHL.