NHL game cancellations could continue next week; report says season at risk

We've reached the "nobody knows nothing" point of the NHL lockout.

Ask 10 people on either side of the table how the talks are going, or when the season might start, and you're likely to get 10 different answers. Some believe the season is lost; and yet you have teams like the Ottawa Senators polling their fans to find out how to make amends when the season begins.

The latest twist comes from Chris Botta of Sports Business Daily, who reported the following on Wednesday night:

Source: if there isn't a deal in place in next 7days, NHL will cancel games thru Dec. 15. Next cancellation could be the season. Also, optimism around team offices almost nil. Drop-dead date arriving soon. I'm still hopeful for a Dec (2012) start.

Well that's bleak …

Keep in mind this leak arrives as both the NHL and NHLPA have stopped talking, and with next week the likely deadline for a Dec. 1 start to the season — ensuring what many assume could be a 70-game campaign.

[Related: The two sides of the lockout story]

So we get a dire warning, in an attempt to get both sides back to the table. Question is: Even with yet another deadline looming, does either side have the desire to cut a deal?

And if not … how's about a mediator? (And yes, this is our formal suggestion that former Stanley Cup model Mark Wahlberg could, in fact, be that mediator. Especially if a foul-mouthed teddy bear is his Bill Daly. Who, come to think of it, is a foul-mouthed teddy bear ...)

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