The NHL on Thursday canceled two more weeks' worth of games and pushed its dispute with the NHL Players' Assn. near the point of no return.
The league wiped out games through Jan. 14 for a total of 625 canceled games, or 50.8% of the schedule. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said via email Thursday that there had been no recent contact between the two sides and that no new negotiations were planned.
The NHL's latest announcement — made, like those that preceded it, in a terse statement — for all intents creates a short-term deadline for preserving even a severely shortened season. The NHL canceled the entire 2004-05 season because of a labor dispute, the first major North American sports league to take such a drastic step.
Two weeks ago, after three days of talks in New York failed to bridge the gap between the league and the union, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said 48 games would be the fewest each team could play in "a season with integrity." That was the number each team played following a labor dispute that delayed the start of the 1994-95 season and wasn't resolved until Jan. 10, 1995.