Report: NHL Will Cancel Entire Season on Jan. 10, If New Deal Isn’t in Place or Looks Imminent

Ray LewisThe NHL lockout has turned into a full-blown game of chicken between the league’s owners and its players.

The Winnipeg Free Press reports that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and the league is getting ready to cancel the entire 2012-13 season and will do so on Thursday, Jan. 10, if no new collective bargaining agreement is reached.

That bit of information reportedly comes from a “veteran member” of the NHL’s board of governors. The decision to kill the season will come if there is no deal or if an agreement doesn’t look imminent. According to the source, this decision stems from NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr‘s continued efforts to push the league around in an effort to get anything and everything he can for the players in a new CBA. The latest move from Fehr and the union came Thursday when it was reported they were set to once again vote on giving Fehr the authority to disclaim interest.

Of course, this development should come as no surprise, either. Bettman has made it known for about a month now that a 48-game season is what’s being targeted by the league. That’s the number that the NHL sees as the minimum to have a legitimate season. For that to happen, the season will need to start by mid-January. Players and teams would likely partake in a week-long training camp, so the math dictates that a deal would need to be in place by Jan. 10 or 11.

The NHL lockout, the third in Bettman’s 20-year tenure, has already cost multiple paychecks and is now more than 100 days old. A canceled season, of course, would be nothing new for the NHL. Bettman and the owners locked the players out in 2004-05 before eventually cancelling the entire season.

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