The next shoe in the lockout saga has fallen, and the NHL has canceled all preseason games through September 30. For the Rangers, this means the cancellation of three of their five preseason games, all away from MSG.
The games canceled are the 9/26 and 9/28 games at New Jersey, and the 9/29 game at Philadelphia. The two remaining preseason games –which will be the next games canceled if this isn’t resolved– are 10/4 at Los Angeles and 10/6 at Colorado.
While the cancellation of preseason games may not seem like much, it deprives us of a rare opportunity to see the Rangers prospects in game situations. The Connecticut Whale aren’t on TV in the New York area, and it is almost impossible to find any OHL, WHL, or QMJHL games that are televised.
Couple this with the Traverse City tournament being canceled, and the only chance we will get to see the Rangers prospects in action will be when NBC, NBCSN, or the Big Ten Network (for those that get it) air Michigan (Boo Nieves), Notre Dame (Steven Fogarty), or Minnesota (Brady Skjei) NCAA games. And unless that schedule changes, we will only be seeing Notre Dame twice.
In the next week or so, expect the remaining preseason games to be canceled. Following that announcement, the NHL and NHLPA have about one more week before there is a need to cancel regular season games. This appears inevitable at the current moment.
I doubt both sides are dumb enough to let this affect the Winter Classic and the revenues it brings, but I’ve been wrong before.