The NHL has announced the cancellation of more games. By axing the schedule through Jan. 14, it appears the league has also created an official deadline for the 2013 season.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said earlier this month teams will need a minimum of 48 games, which is how many were played in the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season. The league and the NHL Players' Association reached a collective bargaining agreement Jan. 11, 1995, and began playing Jan. 20.
They are apparently going with Jan. 14 this time.
A total of 625 regular-season games — 50.8 percent of the season — were scheduled for Oct. 11 through Jan. 14.
Today's announcement officially wiped seven more games from the Buffalo Sabres' calendar, though a new schedule will need to be crafted if there is a season. The Sabres were scheduled to host Ottawa (Dec. 31), Florida (Jan. 3), Tampa Bay (Jan. 5) and Boston (Jan. 9), while they were set to visit the New York Rangers (Jan. 8), Ottawa (Jan. 11) and Chicago (Jan. 13).
Meanwhile, the polls are slowly coming to a close for members of the NHLPA. The five-day window to decide whether to allow their executive board to file a disclaimer of interest closes Friday.
If the players vote yes -- an outcome that is widely and overwhelmingly expected -- the union will be authorized to walk away from its role as the players' negotiators. Union officials have not commented on whether they will file the disclaimer in the case of an affirmative result. If they do, the players would be free to file antitrust lawsuits.