Soft Cancellation Deadline May Help NHL

Soft Cancellation Deadline May Help NHL

We wanted openers. Now we want closure. And that's why Thursday's announcement – the ninth cancellation of this lockout – was actually welcome news to those of us who still care about the NHL.

At least we'll know soon.

The NHL canceled the schedule through Jan. 14, and that means the NHL and the NHL Players' Association now face a soft deadline for the cancellation of the 2012-13 – oops, the 2013 – season.

Commissioner Gary Bettman has said he "can't imagine wanting to play fewer" than 48 games, as the NHL did during the 1994-95 – oops, the 1995 – season when it dropped the puck in January. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly has said this needs to end around mid-January.

So there you go. If you believe Bettman and Daly, we're not at the brink yet, but we can see it from here.

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