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Morning Lineup – December 21

Friday Morning – 12/21/12 – First Day of Winter

That's right, the winter solstice arrived at 6:12 am Eastern time marking the shortest day of the year and the beginning of the coldest period of the cycle around the sun for the Northern Hemisphere.  Personally, I don't much care for that, having never been a cold-weather fan.  But that's the way it goes.

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The National Hockey League has kicked off winter in a big way by canceling even more of the season, all games through January 14.  This officially eliminates 50.8% of the 82-game season and places it dangerously close to losing the entire season (again).  You cannot have an effective season to determine the championship playoff qualifiers with just a handful of regular-season games.

I'm getting the impression that the team owners would rather lose the season than surrender the percentage of revenues that the players' union has been insisting on.  And the owners do have the upper hand with their strong financial base, whereas the individual players have only a handful of productive years where they can play at their peak performance and earn their maximum salary.  Sports Illustrated is reporting:

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a radio interview Wednesday that mid-January is likely the latest the sides could go to make a deal to save the season. When pressed, however, he said he expects the season will be played.

No drop-dead date has been announced by the NHL, which is the only North American professional sports league to cancel a season because of to a labor dispute. The 2004-05 season was lost to a lockout.

Daly said the sides hadn't been in contact with each other Thursday, and no new talks are planned. The groups have remained apart since two days of meetings with a federal mediator last week produced no progress. There haven't been negotiations since Dec. 6 in New York, when talks broke down after a few days of bargaining.

This is the 97th day of the lockout.

We're not locked out though, so let's get started with the equipment check.  I'm heading for the winter coffee supply where I'll get another pot started before we meet back in the day room.  See you there.

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