NHL notes: League cancels schedule through mid-January

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (right) gestures in front of deputy commissioner Bill Daly as he...

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (right) gestures in front of deputy commissioner Bill Daly as he describes negotiations between the league and NHL Players Association regarding the difficulties of their labour talks in New York on Dec. 6, 2012. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:59 PM ET

The NHL lopped off another two weeks worth of games Thursday, taking the lockout perilously close to the "mid-January" drop-dead date for a season.

All games through Jan. 14 have now been cancelled, a total of 625 in all. That amounts to 50.8% of the the full NHL season.

"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 short statement announcing the news.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Wednesday that the league was looking at "sometime in mid-January" as the cutoff point for having a season but added that he expects there to be one.

The NHL and NHLPA haven't met face-to-face to negotiate a new CBA since early December, when talks broke off. The two sides brought mediators into the mix for a second time the following week but didn't sit across the table from each other.

Representatives for both parties have chatted on the phone since then but are no closer to an agreement. The NHLPA's membership is in the process of voting to give its executive the power to file a disclaimer of interest, which would effectively dissolve the union.

GRIGORENKO STAYING PUT

Buffalo Sabres prospect Mikhail Grigorenko will stay in junior for the season even if the NHL lockout ends, according to the Journal de Quebec.

Grigorenko, drafted 12th overall last summer, will play out the season for the Patrick Roy-coached Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The 18-year-old Russian leads the Remparts in scoring with 29 goals and 21 assists in 30 games.

Grigorenko will play for Russia at the world junior championship in Ufa.

MESZAROS WILL PLAY

Philadelphia Flyers defenceman Andrej Meszaros, who has been recovering from a left Achilles tear, could be ready to play if the NHL season starts in January.

Meszaros tore the tendon training in the off-season after having back surgery in March, which forced him to miss all but one of the Flyers' playoff games last season. But he's close to returning, according to Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren.

"His next doctor's appointment is just after the New Year," Holmgren told CSNPhilly.com. "If we're going to start playing any time soon, I think he'd be ready to play."

Another defenceman Andreas Lilja, who had been out with a hip injury, has been cleared to play.

BRIEFLY

Philadelphia Flyers prospect Ben Holmstrom is out 4-6 months after having ACL surgery on his right knee. The 25-year-old centre had two goals and six assists in 22 games with Adirondack of the AHL before getting hurt ... New Jersey Devils prospect Alex Kerfoot, a fifth-round pick in 2012, had shoulder surgery Thursday and is done for the season. The 18-year-old was playing for Coquitlam of the BCHL before heading to Harvard for 2013-14 ... American forward Alex Galchenyuk will stay for the duration of the world junior tourney, even if the lockout ends, at the behest of the Montreal Canadiens. According to La Presse. Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin told the U.S. team that Galchenyuk, the third overall pick in the 2012 NHL draft, would be staying in Russia for the duration.


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