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NHL cancels games through January 14, enters the danger zone; next cancellation the season?

Harrison Mooney
Puck Daddy

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The cancellations continue.

On Thursday, the NHL finally gave up on its dream of having even one day of the 2012-13 season take place in 2012 (or maybe its dream of having the Mayan Apocalypse render this announcement unnecessary, since it's Dec. 21 on the other side of the world and the world hasn't ended). The inevitable axe finally fell on Dec. 31.

They didn't even give us a chance to count down from 10.

Along with New Year's Eve, the league also said goodbye to the first two weeks of the New Year. From the NHL:

The National Hockey League announced today the cancelation of the 2012-13 regular-season schedule through January 14. The cancellations are necessary due to the absence of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL Players’ Association and the NHL.

A total of 625 regular-season games – 50.8 percent of the season – were scheduled for October 11 through January 14.

Lame.

There is good news and bad news about what the future holds for us:

The good news -- and I'm really excited about this -- is that this is likely the last post we'll have to write during this lockout about the NHL canceling a block of games. These posts, of which we've had to write nine now, are dry and depressing and always seem to happen right at the end of the day out East, when I'm eating a late lunch out West. As my lunch cools, uneaten, beside me, I can confidently say that I will not miss these posts in the slightest.

The bad news -- and it's really, really bad -- is that these "block of games" posts will no longer be necessary because, if the NHL has to announce another cancellation, it will be rest of the season.

[Ten most absurd moments of the 2012 NHL lockout]

We've been on the highway to the danger zone for months, but people, we are officially in the danger zone. As Bill Daly said the other day, while the league has no official drop-dead date, if it did, it would likely be in mid-January, which is about how you'd categorize Jan. 14. In short, the players and the owners likely have less than a month.

That's horrifying. (Although it could be worse. Justin Timberlake and Madonna only had four minutes to save the world.)

So what sort of season are we looking at if they can beat the deadline? If the two sides can finally figure this thing out, John Shannon reports that the shortened season "would be a 720-game schedule, which is 48 games per team."

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