The first hockey games have been canceled as a result of the lockout.
On Wednesday, the NHL announced that all exhibition games through Sept. 30 are off. Also, the Kraft Hockeyville game in Belleville, Ontario, that was slated for Oct. 3 has been called off, too, but not the festivities surrounding the game.
In total, that's 60 games being wiped out and it means there will be no hockey in the month of September.
Granted, these are just exhibition games we're talking about here. It's unlikely too many fans are going to be crying over missing overpriced, meaningless preseason games being taken away. Unfortunately, though, it's a harbinger of what's to come. It's a real reminder that games are going to be lost, the meaningful ones will be soon to follow.
How much does the first round of cuts through Sept. 30 hurt? Well, take a team like the Columbus Blue Jackets, for example. They are losing five games right off the bat as they were also slated for that Hockeyville matchup.
The biggest bummer of losing preseason games is seeing some of the special-site matches lost. In addition to playing in Belleville, the Blue Jackets were also slated to play in Baltimore against the Capitals in the second annual Baltimore Hockey Classic (seems weird to call it a classic, but I'll accept it). Preseason games are a chance for teams to go places they don't usually get a chance to go, and in the case of the Caps they take the chance to go an hour up the road to a major city without a hockey team.
This feels like a perfect time to say this again: Fellas, get back to the negotiations!