As you likely know by now, the NHL cancelled the Winter Classic – from Katie Strang and Craig Custance of ESPN:

The NHL has decided to cancel the Winter Classic, which was slated to feature the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs at the University of Michigan’s football stadium in Ann Arbor on Jan. 1, a source told’s Pierre LeBrun on Friday.

In the six weeks since the lockout began, the work stoppage has caused the cancellation of hundreds of regular-season games, significant revenue loss and what may be irreversible damage to the game’s reputation.

Friday, however, was the darkest day yet.

A source familiar with the league’s plan had told LeBrun the decision to cancel the game was green-lighted after a final internal meeting at NHL offices in New York on Friday morning. The league is expected to announce the cancellation on Friday afternoon.

That leaves me with questions:

* If the NHL and NHLPA come to terms next week, is there any chance for a reversal of that? Could they return calls to the sponsors, apologize, and try to go forward with it?

(UPDATE: Nope. It ain’t happening. Thanks to Pizzo for the tip.)

* Would the NHL have a season that starts Dec. 1st (or whenever), and carry on without the Classic? I don’t think it’s impossible.

* Does the NHL realize how much worse a severely shortened season is than just a mildly shortened one? I have no interest in a 40 game NHL season. Hey sweet, the Wild or some random team will win the Cup, awesome!

* This is such a curious domino to fall so soon – did the NHL just desperately want to eliminate an NHLPA negotiating chip before they return to the table?

Hopefully the coming days will bring answers. For now, we’re just left with the fact: no Winter Classic, no HBO 24/7, no alumni game.

One last question: what the hell are these guys doing?

Comments (14)

  1. ugggghhhhhhhh!!!!!!

    not that the WC is all that great. but, this, in my mind, is just leading to more games cancelled and then the rest of the season.

  2. Bettman has cleary ruined the NHL and the current talks between Bettman/Owners vs Fehr/Players are going nowhere so maybe it’s time to bring in a 3rd party to do whats best for hockey because the current scenario’s(lockouts) playing out every 5-7 years is ruining the fans passion for NHL hockey.

    Why not try…

    Lets have an NHL commissioner that is paid 1/2 by the owners and 1/2 by the players and remains neutral to either party and makes his decisions based on whats good for the game of hockey period.

    I even have a someone to nominate for the job he was an amazing player and owner/coach how about Wayne Gretzky…

    I am just sick and tired of the same old retoric from the players/owners !!

    And Bettman needs to be fired !! And the players need to wise up and realise they make more money in one year than 90% of rest of the world make there whole lives so cry me a river players life must be tough on you… boo hooo

    • If the commissioner was 50/50 paid by players and owners, there’s still be a lockout and we’d still be without hockey. The commissioner would be pushed into irrelevance in the CBA negotiations, and everyone would be hating whichever guy was representing the owners (Daly) and whichever guy was representing the players (Fehr still). The commish would still be the one cancelling the games, he’d just be getting his infro from Daly instead.

      Bettman isn’t -entirely- to blame here. Look to the 30 guys who hired him and are giving him his marching orders. If enough owners told Bettman tomorrow to make a deal, the deal would be done tomorrow, and he’d hold a press conference to point out how he won (even if he didn’t).

  3. What are they doing? They’re making me into an NBA fan. And I fucking hate the NBA.

    • I could never be an NBA fan… I mean, I’ll watch the Spurs occasionally but, that’s about it,

  4. Is bad that I’m mostly upset about not getting a Leafs/Wings 24/7 ?

  5. Winter classic is history
    Hockey’s return a mystery
    And when it does let’s not pretend
    They’re very many won’t attend

    It would be awesome’s what I claim
    If no one went or watched a game
    If maybe for a month or more
    The NHL we did ignore

    Just simply say a big fuck you
    We’ve found they’re better things to do
    Than our watching your stupid game
    And they’d have but themselves to blame

    It’s just a fantasy of course
    But mayhap one we all endorse
    If eighty games are what are not
    Then eighty more we should boycott

    My point is that it’s only fair
    To finger those who just don’t care

  6. I have an interest in a shortened season, but that’s cause I’m a Stars fan and they usually get off to a good start before crashing in February.

  7. So the truth is this sucks and it’s going to suck even more if no games are played. Will a short season be a farce? Yes but, will that stop me from watching? No. Ultimately I couldn’t care less about the business side of hockey. All I care about are the plays, my players, the players I hate, highlight reel goals, impossible toe saves and the feeling I get when I know that puck is in the net . I love the snow showers, the stick salutes, hating referees and holding my breath while Toronto decides whether or not to rob my team of a goal. Maybe some fans won’t come back. Maybe they feel burned by the NHL and the PA and I get that. But me, I’ll feel worse knowing I won’t be able to lose my mind over a game, or gross out on Pierre McGuire or want to slap Don Cherry over yet another of his idiotic statements. Do I think a team that plays half a season deserves to get their names on The Stanley Cup, probably not but, I still want to see them play and nothing’s really going to change that.

  8. I’m not a Canadian that feels the need or national pride of following my sport. I’m not a Bostonian or any other major U.S city where Hockey is a force and the sport dominates the conversation.

    I am a California native that JUST had his SF Giants win the world series and currently has his 49ers as legitimate contenders for the Superbowl. Both sports that are immensely more popular than Hockey. Where is my motivation to continue to invest my emotions in a game that’s not willing to invest in me?

    I feel that this is the final straw for me. Screw hockey! I’ll continue to follow the 2 BIGGER sports and I’ll replace the red headed step child league that is the NHL with MLS. At this point it looks like the MLS Earthquakes will bring home a championship sooner than the Sharks ever could. Thanks for losing a fan NHL


  9. I’d watch nude male figure skating before i’d watch so much as 30 seconds of NBA or the sport of basketball in general. Thankfully, Assassins Creed III just came out so i’ll something to spend my time on.

    That said, we knew this was coming. And it was the last chance for the league to salvage any goodwill from this. Might as well scrap the whole season, it’s a wash anyway with all the anger within the fanbase. The brand is suffering some very serious damage.

  10. Hey I live in freehold New Jersey just got hi with te hurricane just got Internet to te iPhone, first thing I read. My 6th day with no heat just got a lot colder

  11. Take care of yourself up there man. I live in South Florida and after Hurricane Wilma we were without power 2 weeks….didn’t have the cold problem here though.

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