Mike Bolt takes the Stanley Cup off the ice after members of the Vancouver… (Darryl Dyck / Canadian Press…)
The dribs and drabs — almost like an annoying dripping faucet — have taken a sizable toll.
All has proved quite costly in terms of the pocketbooks of the players, owners and arena workers. For some perspective, the last hockey game played was Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Kings and New Jersey Devils on June 11 at Staples Center.
Fast-forward six months. Hockey's labor dispute has accounted for the loss of 42.8% of the NHL season, 526 regular-season games. The NHL announced Monday the cancellation of games through Dec. 30 because of the absence of a new collective bargaining agreement.
It will be much closer to seven months without NHL hockey even if the parties were to suddenly reach a resolution, a longshot at best. But negotiations appear close to resuming this week, and NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in an email to The Times that Wednesday was a possibility.
"The sides are talking about resuming CBA talks," said a spokesperson for the NHL Players Assn. in an email to The Times on Monday night.
Until that happens, the cutting of more games — a widely anticipated move — from the NHL schedule took center stage.
Gone were eight more games for the reigning Stanley Cup champion Kings, including three home dates at Staples Center. They were to have played at Ottawa on Dec. 15, Boston on Dec. 17, Detroit on Dec. 18 and San Jose on Dec. 20 before returning home to play the Sharks on Dec. 22 and the Phoenix Coyotes on Dec. 26.
The other canceled games were at Phoenix on Dec. 27 and against the Ducks at Staples Center on Dec. 29.
In addition to the game against the Kings, the Ducks will be losing six more games in the latest round of cuts. Only one was in Anaheim, Dec. 26, against the Sharks.
The Kings have had 37 games canceled, the Ducks 35.
There has been no new round of talks officially scheduled since negotiations went off the rails in a big way last week. Fresh voices from both sides entered the negotiations, sparking a brief surge of optimism before the situation deteriorated Thursday.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was visibly angered at a news conference Thursday after talks broke down, capping a day and night of bizarre twists. Declaring he wanted a season "with integrity," Bettman said it would have to be a minimum of 48 games. That's exactly what happened in the lockout-shortened campaign of 1994-95 with the first games taking place in late January.