News Column

NHL Cancels Games Through Jan. 14

Dec 21, 2012

Helene St. James


The NHL squashed the last possible chance for there to be any more games in 2012 with another round of cuts five days before Christmas.

The league announced today that games are cancelled through Jan. 14, adding two weeks to the last cancellation date of Dec. 30. The Red Wings long have had a tradition of playing New Year's Eve, but there was never much chance that was going to happen this season, even after the Winter Classic to be held New Year's Day against Toronto at Michigan Stadium was axed last month.

The NHL has been shut down since Sept. 16, when owners locked out players after failing to reach a new collective bargaining agreement. The situation has degenerated to such a point that there haven't even been any negotiations this week; in fact, players have spent the week voting to disband.

Wings player representative Daniel Cleary told the Free Press earlier in the week he expects the vote, which ends Friday, to pass "overwhelmingly." Players are voting to allow the Players Association executive committee and executive director Don Fehr to file a disclaimer of interest in federal court, which essentially would leave the players de-unionized. If the lockout is then declared illegal, players would be free to sue owners for triple damages.

The mere threat of such legal entanglement worked last year for the NBA players, who got a CBA done in time to be playing on Christmas Day. The NHL, however, already took a pre-emptive move and filed papers seeking to have the lockout declared legal should the NHLPA file a disclaimer.

The last time the NHL and the players association fought over a CBA, it cost the entire 2004-05 season. Ten years prior, the lockout ended Jan. 11, and a 48-game season ran Jan. 20-May 3.

Source: (c)2012 the Detroit Free Press. Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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