Another round of canceled games comes as no surprise after last week's meetings between the NHL and NHLPA crumbled to the ground.
According to TSN's Darren Dreger, the league is expected to formally announce that all games through Dec. 30 are now off the table. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly has since said that the league and union are hoping to meet again sometime this week, but no official plans have been made.
Since last Thursday's ugly ending, NHLPA executive Donald Fehr said the two sides are close to a deal, something that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman refuted.
At best, teams could return to the ice on New Years Eve or early January, but the 2013 campaign will not include the Winter Classic or All-Star game, which were both axed earlier in the negotiations.
The Blackhawks signed Ville Pokka to a one-year contract on Tuesday.
The 23-year-old Pokka played in all 76 regular-season games for the Rockford IceHogs last season, recording six goals and 24 assists.
The Blackhawks’ defensive depth has already taken a hit this offseason, with Niklas Hjalmarsson traded to Arizona – Connor Murphy came here in the deal – and Trevor van Riemsdyk, selected by the Vegas Golden Knights, then traded to the Carolina Hurricanes. While the Blackhawks will probably explore free-agent options this offseason, Pokka could vie for an opportunity at training camp.
Dennis Rasmussen was not tendered a qualifying offer by the Blackhawks, a source confirmed on Tuesday. Rasmussen will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Rasmussen was coming off a one-year deal worth $575,000. He was expected to be among those the Blackhawks extended qualifying offers – the deadline was Monday afternoon – but he was not.
The 26-year-old played 68 games for the Blackhawks this past season, recording four goals and four assists. He gave the Blackhawks some options, as he also played some wing and was part of the penalty kill. But he was a surprise healthy scratch more often than not as the regular season continued.
The Blackhawks will enter this season without Rasmussen and, if Marcus Kruger is traded, the team will have some holes to fill at center.