No one should be surprised by this. There has been some rumblings that the NHLPA and the league might be getting back together soon. I am starting to believe that the league has had a latest possible date to start the season targeted all along. So what have we missed so far as Blackhawks fans?
With the latest slew of games cancelled, 35 of the 82 originally scheduled games have been lost. Seven divisional games have been lost, three versus the Blues, two versus the Predators and one each against the Blue Jackets and Red Wings.
Some important road games that have been lost include Jonathan Toews' homecoming in Winnipeg versus the Jets that would have occurred on October 16. The November 3 game in Toronto versus the Maple Leafs is gone, an old rivalry that is all but dead. The circus trip is wiped out with would have included our first game against the hated Canucks and our first look at the defending Stanley Cup champs, the LA Kings. Another original six game in Montreal, versus the Canadiens, on December 4 was lost. Patrick Kane would have played against his hometown Sabres on December 13.
We have also missed out on some great matchups at the United Center as well. The Coyotes were set to make their first visit since knocking the Hawks out of the playoff last year on October 30. The Pittsburgh Penguins were to come to town on November 4. We missed out on what kind of injury would have prevented Sidney Crosby from actually playing in Chicago. The first game back from the circus trip would have given the home fans a chance to see the Kings in person. The Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Devils would have mixed it up with the Hawks on December 7. The December 28 game against the revamped Carolina Hurricanes is now wiped out.
So what happens next? Who the hell knows. Terms like "desertification" and "disclaimer of interest" are being thrown around. If the NHL plays a 48 game season we will not see any Eastern Conference teams come to town, which is shame. I long for the days of watching Brendan Shannahan awkwardly explaining his judgments....