By Barry Janoff
December 21, 2012: If you're looking for hockey in January to help ring in the New Year, try the American Hockey League, Central Hockey League, Russia's Kontinental Hockey League (which has a deal with ESPN for U.S. broadcasts) or even EA Sports' NHL 13, which is running at its Web site a weekly NHL season simulation (pictured).
But don't try the National Hockey League.
The NHL on Thursday canceled another slew of games, this time through Jan. 14, raising the total to 625 lost for the season, which translates to more than half (50.8%) of the 2012-13 campaign.
"The cancellations are necessary due to the absence of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL Players' Association and the NHL," the league said in a statement.
The league has already canceled the Winter Classic and All-Star Game and related events, both scheduled for January.
Industry analysts said the NHL is coming precariously close to losing the entire season, as happened in 2004-05, also due to a CBA impasse and lockout.
Back in 1994-95, a lockout was not resolved until Jan. 11, with a 48-game schedule beginning on Jan. 20.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has previously stated that the league is losing between $18-$20 million a day and that players are losing between $8-$10 million a day.
''When it gets to the point where we can't play a season with integrity, with a representative schedule, then we'll be done,'' Bettman told the media earlier this month when the league announced cancelations through Dec. 30. ''If you go back in history, in [1994-95], I think we played 48 games. I can't imagine wanting to play fewer than that.''
The NHL has already indicted that the next Bridgestone Winter Classic would remain at the University of Michigan, with the home team Detroit Red Wings again hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Due to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, the next NHL All-Star Game would not be scheduled until January 2015, under the conditions that the lockout be resolved and the league and the union again allow players to participate with their respective nations, as they did most recently at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.
NHL Says 'Puck You' To 2012