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NHL cancels regular-season schedule through Dec. 30; can 2012-13 season be salvaged from lockout?

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy

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The NHL is cancelling its regular-season schedule through Dec. 30. And pretty much the only one in shock might be Steve Burton.

A total of 526 regular-season games—42.8 percent of the season—were scheduled for October 11 through December 30. Previously, the NHL's 2012-13 regular-season schedule had been cancelled through Dec. 14.

Via Chere, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the NHL was "trying to give buildings sufficient flexibility … shorter horizon also would suggest we are closer than we are right now."

If you're looking for silver linings, know this: There are 13 games scheduled for New Year's Eve that haven't been cancelled, and hence they could be a nearly full slate of action to usher in a new NHL season.

So if you're like, 'Hey, why not just cancel the full month of games?' … welp, maybe the NHL fancies Sidney Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin on Dec. 31 as a sufficient way to kick off a restarted season.

The other silver lining is that this cancellation leaves plenty of time before Gary Bettman's de facto deadline in January, after which a minimum 48-game season wouldn't be possible.

In fact, as much as a 57-game season can be saved if the games begin around Jan. 1; and one imagines the NHL has schedules prepared for any start date.

But we've gotten to the point where Bettman's deadline should harden. Let's set a date that's a real "hill to die on" and then either get this deal settled or wipe away the season — as crushing, damaging, shortsighted and absurd as that move would be.

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