With the majority of the NHL's preseason schedule already canceled, it's only a matter of time before regular-season games will be taken off the calendar as well.
The lack of negotiations between the owners and players could mean a delayed start to the season, if a season is going to happen at all. Any missed ice time — whether it be one game or 82 — is extremely bad for the league, hence the urgency to get a deal done.
At this point, fans don't care who gets the better end of the new collective bargaining agreement as long as hockey is going to be played, and played soon. If there's no hockey, the NHL can kiss its fans goodbye yet again.