CHICAGO -- The NHL began canceling regular season games on Thursday due to an owners imposed lockout which has entered its second calendar month. It means five Chicago Blackhawks’ games are gone and more than likely -- even if a deal is reached soon -- those games won’t be rescheduled. The season, if there is one, will undoubtedly be less than the usual 82 games due to this announcement.
Right now the Hawks’ home and road openers, Oct. 13 against the Columbus Blue Jackets and Oct. 16 against the Winnipeg Jets, have been canceled along with games against the Colorado Avalanche (Oct. 18), Detroit Red Wings (Oct. 20) and St. Louis Blues (Oct. 23).
The NHL has not announced a scheduled plan for continuing to cancel games but expect them to come in chunks on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. During the last labor impasse, in 2004-2005, the league canceled its entire season on Feb. 16.
The most recent collective bargaining agreement between the players and owners expired on Sept. 15 and since then there have been few negotiations on the primary economic issues at hand. Several Hawks have signed overseas to play during the lockout including Michael Frolik, Bryan Bickell and Michael Rozsival.
Others will be joining them if the lockout looks to be a prolonged one. At this stage that’s more likely than less. Any player signed with a team in Europe or Russia will be allowed to return to the NHL once the lockout has ended.
Fans who have purchased tickets for canceled games should consult the Blackhawks website for refund information.