NHL: Find Your Hockey Fix Elsewhere Through At Least January 14

Latest cancellation announcement keeps NHL fans puck-free for another three weeks.

Anyone else growing increasingly, well, bored by these incremental and for the most part fully expected proclamations from a league few of us have any remaining interest in following? Witness the latest announcement concerning regular season cancellations via NHL.com:

The National Hockey League announced today the cancellation of the 2012-13 regular-season schedule through January 14. The cancellations are necessary due to the absence of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL Players' Association and the NHL. A total of 625 regular-season games—50.8 percent of the season—were scheduled for October 11 through January 14.

Period, the end. And yet no "official" word from the PA either; did it happen or didn't it? Of course it did, but one would logically assume this might just squeak into their news stream regardless of logic being discarded months ago. Or perhaps that second job of mine is clouding the thought process...lousy economy and all.

It's all so matter-of-fact and "clean", now; as if we, a dying breed of fans of a sport which has over the past twenty years essentially been contracted from 30 teams to 2: no longer Rangers vs. Bruins, Red Wings vs. Avalanche, or far more importantly in these here parts Panthers vs. fill-in-the-blank, the game has been reduced to a pathetically laughable NHL vs. the Players Association (final score to be determined, but man...who expected day after day of scoreless ties?). Expired CBA in, Expired CBA out. Who loses?

This period is, of course, the End Of Days for a 2012-13 season. Such a cancellation, date-wise, was the final straw before a last-minute agreement in 1994-95 which allowed for a pieced together 48-game intraconference schedule. Hope remains eternal, but those negotiations took place long before blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and the ability to foist personal opinion on the world from either side.

So enjoy the holidays, friends. Very nice of the PA - or at least their attorneys - to offer working through Christmas, but whatever. I for one have rediscovered several aspects of my own life that needed increased attention since long before this madness began, and likely so have you. Doesn't mean you or I don't remain a fan - hardcore or otherwise - of the Panthers or NHL hockey, only that a little lot of "free time" has gone a long way toward fulfilling other perhaps more important real-world goals (and no pun intended).

And the chess match rolls on...