How soon before we hear that the entire 2012-2013 season is a goner? The total number of games now lost to the NHL lockout is 625 — that’s 50.8 percent of the regular season that was to begin October 11. The cancellation of games through January 14 was announced today and is the latest swath of the schedule cut that so far has included scrapping the NHL All-Star Game and the New Year’s Day Winter Classic. The January 14 date is significant: league commissioner Gary Bettman has said he doesn’t want a season that’s less than 48 games. The latest deadline will be closely watched by NBC Sports and the various regional sports networks who have TV rights to the games; NBC signed a record $2 billion, 10-year TV rights deal with the NHL last year, with hockey a major programming plank in its nascent NBC Sports Network. No new talks are currently scheduled between the league and the NHL Players’ Association, who are bickering over revenue-sharing in a new collective bargaining agreement.
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