More than a third of the NHL regular season and two of its marquee events have now been called off.
The league announced its latest round of cancellations on Friday -- Day 69 of its labor lockout. All games through Dec. 14 were wiped out, and this time All-Star Weekend, scheduled for Jan. 26-27 in Columbus, Ohio, was lost, too. The New Year's Day outdoor Winter Classic already was scratched.
For the Sharks, that means 28 of 82 regular season games have now been lost -- half of them home contests at HP Pavilion that normally bring thousands of people into downtown restaurants and bars.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said losing the All-Star festivities is "extremely disappointing."
"We feel badly for NHL fans and particularly those in Columbus, and we intend to work closely with the Blue Jackets organization to return the NHL All-Star events to Columbus and their fans as quickly as possible," Daly said in a statement Friday.
The Blue Jackets said fans holding tickets to the game, the skills competition, and other events during that weekend could receive refunds.
A lockout in the 1994-95 season shortened that campaign to 48 games. A similar scenario could play out this time if the sides can find some common ground. Or the whole season could be lost, as it was in 2004-05.
The new cancellations come as little surprise. Owners and players had an unproductive negotiating session on Wednesday that produced no movement to break an impasse over splitting more than $3 billion in revenue and also player contracts.
"All players felt that this week would lead to something," Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall wrote in an email to The Associated Press. "However as of today unfortunately that doesn't seem to be the case. It's very disappointing."
Daly said he spoke to union officials on Friday, advising them about the cancellations, but at this point no face-to-face talks are scheduled. The possibility exists that Daly will speak to union special counsel Steve Fehr by telephone this weekend, but even that isn't certain.
The sides had stayed apart for eight days before reconvening on Monday night and then again on Wednesday when the union presented a comprehensive proposal the NHL requested. Players' association executive director Donald Fehr said Wednesday that the sides were closer financially than the NHL has claimed.
Management wants a seven-year deal, which the union says is too long because fewer than half the current players will be active by the last season.
Staff writer David Pollak contributed to this report.