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NHL lockout forces cancellations of 2 weeks of games; Matt Niskanen reacts

The NHL officially canceled the first two weeks of the regular season Thursday. The decision means the Pittsburgh Penguins' first six games are now canceled, including the season opener, Oct. 12, against the visiting New York Islanders.

"Right now,” Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen told the Trib's Josh Yohe, “this whole thing just stinks. It totally stinks.”

According to the Penguins' official website, Pittsburgh's new season-opener will now be played against the visiting New York Rangers on Oct. 25. The Penguins' next six games, a span from Oct. 26-Nov. 7, would be played on the road.

However, there are no signs that a new collective bargaining agreement between the owners and players will be finalized anytime soon. The two sides are still unable to work out how to split up $3 billion in hockey-related revenues. This means another round of cuts to the regular-season schedule could be coming.

The league was scheduled to begin regular-season play next Thursday night with four games. It's still unclear how the league will handle a shortened season.

“We’re just hoping for the best right now,” Niskanen said. “But right now, it’s not looking good. We’d be at the end of training camp right now in a normal season. It’s just a bad situation for everyone.”

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.