Feb. 9, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Fencing indicates where the ice rink will be in Comerica Park for the Hockeytown Winter Festival which is part of the NHL 2013 Winter Classic game between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

NHL Winter Classic Will Decide Season's Fate

Having professional hockey being played on American soil in 2013 seems unlikely as the grim outlook continues to grow.  In recent weeks we’ve had the Players Association scoff at what was thought to be a “season-saving” offer from the owners before rebutting with three separate proposals.  Sadly, the NHL abruptly shot them down one by one, leaving them no choice but to cancel two chunks of the pending season.  The sides then, unsurprisingly, compounded the previously made mistakes with their broken and pathetic excuse  for negotiations; a word I would consider code for “Not actually ever speaking with one another at a table”.  Time is waning as each day passes, and unless a motivation to meet suddenly arises, ending this lockout before a season is destroyed in its entirety seems implausible.

Oh yes, this isn’t the end of the bad news.

Katy Strang of ESPN recently reported that the Winter Classic could be cancelled this Thursday.  This information was brought to ESPN by “a source familiar with the league’s plan”.

Yeah, now is the time to run for cover ladies and gentlemen, but make sure you bring the necessary technologies and subscriptions that will give you access to the KHL, because that is where many of our team’s stars will find a sheet of ice to shine on.

Since the NHL decided to create the pond-hockey-like outdoor event, it quickly became the most popular game offered each year, not to mention the most profitable.  When the lockout was first instated, the common thought was that the season, no matter the duration, would not be in jeopardy so long as the Winter Classic was still scheduled.  That goal may be coming apart at the seams.

All we can do as fans is wait, as usual.  I truly hope the cancellation doesn’t come to pass; I see no other reason for a season to take place if it does.  Judging by the money that has already been lost, if they are willing to give up the Winter Classic this early, then the remainder of a potential season will probably mean squat.

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