The NHLPA doesn’t have the upper hand in much with their negotiations with the NHL, but to this point the Winter Classic has served as their ace in the hole. It’s a huge cash grab for the league, the fans love it, and it’s become the NHL’s signature event. You would think the League would hate to not have it this season.

Obviously an untold amount of planning goes into putting on such a massive event, so for it to happen, you have to have plans in the works by, oh, say, now.

Well, the NHL is aware of this, and sources have told Katie Strang of ESPN that with no CBA deal this week (and good luck getting that done with mass transit shut down in New York due to Hurricane Sandy, as she notes), they will be cancelling the Winter Classic on Thursday.

From Strang’s piece titled “Labor sides have no plans to meet

Although there was limited communication between NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr and NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly over the weekend, the stalemate between the sides continues, making it likely that the Winter Classic will be canceled.

Daly said Monday that the two sides had no plans to meet but that the union is ready and willing to meet as soon as necessary.

And…

Since rejecting the union’s trio of proposals, the league has made two rounds of game cancellations. The latest, announced on Friday, wiped out the regular-season schedule for the month of November. A source familiar with the league’s plan told ESPNNewYork.com that the league is expected to cancel the Winter Classic on Thursday, the source said.

Along with the cancellation of a Toronto/Detroit Winter Classic in The Big House in Michigan comes the cancellation of my personal favourite show in television, HBO’s 24/7: Road to the Winter Classic.

With the difficulties in travel, and the new, closer deadline, it looks to me like we can kiss both the show and the game goodbye.

At least we still have the All-Star Game in Columbus?