NHL cancels games through Jan. 14, season could hit 'point of no return' by mid-January

TORONTO - The National Hockey League Thursday cancelled all of its games 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," officials said on NHL.com.

The entire season could be cancelled if the lockout doesn't end by mid-January.

Interviewed Wednesday on Toronto radio station Sportsnet The Fan 590, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the entire season could come to an end if no deal is reached by mid-January.

“There are a lot of open issues. We are prepared to shut down the industry over a deal that is not right for our owners,” Daly said. “That’s what we are prepared to do.”

Daly did not give a specific date on when the entire season would be canceled but league commissioner Gary Bettman has said that he doesn't want to play a season less than 48 games. That's the number of games that were played after the lockout in 1994-95.

The league has already canceled the Winter Classic scheduled for New Year's Day and the All-Star game in Columbus, Ohio on Jan. 27.

The NHL is in its fourth lockout since 1992 and Daly acknowledges that the work stoppage could affect the public perception of the league.

"I think it's fair to say it’s a crap shoot," said Daly. "Obviously, I think we've tried to be as open and transparent with our business partners as possible as to what this fight is all about, what we're trying to accomplish and why this is good for the sport.

"But there is nobody fooling anybody that what is going on right now and that fact that we're not playing hockey is a good thing for either the sport of the brand. There is no doubt about it."

Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock has a worse forecast for the league.

"Hate to say it," Babcock told Sportsnet.ca. "But we could end up like bowling."