The National Hockey League had edged even closer to cancelling the entire season, slicing games through January 14, 2013. The good news here is that the world is supposed to end anyway; the bad news is that the World Juniors don’t start until December 26.

The league has insisted that it has no “drop-dead” date, but it looks like this will be the last block of games cancelled before the final inevitable cut. Anyone clinging to hope that there will be hockey at all this season is probably the sort that will be waiting up Christmas Eve in hopes of hearing tiny reindeer on their roofs.

On a personal note, the best news about the cancellation of the NHL season in its entirety would mean the end of reading “I DON’T CARE ABOUT HOCKEY, DAMMIT!” comments from those who insist they don’t care and demonstrate their indifference by continuing to…comment.

The bad news is obviously the fact that we’re seeing any semblance of hope in an NHL season, even a 48-game per team season, melt and fall on us like ice chunks from the Port Mann Bridge.

The fact is that the whole lockout has been frustrating on a number of levels. From the economic factors to the ridiculous posturing, it’s been a little like watching a stand-off in a high school cafeteria between two warring factions about to break into song. There have been moments of ridiculous self-seriousness, even the usual smug head-wagging by Gary Bettman, and it’s been rough.

We’ve seen focus groups from Frank Luntz (despite the fact that the NHL repeatedly told us that they had no interest in fighting or winning any “PR war”) and we’ve had a hockey executive calling NHL players “cattle.”

We’ve also seen the absolutely nutty passion play put on by Donald Fehr and Bettman, with a voicemail announcing the rejection of the players’ latest offer taking centre stage to humiliate the NHLPA just moments after they expressed a little something called hope.

We’ve had many moments and we’ll have many more. We’ll once again set up hockey pools and once again hammer players for taking time off for concussions. All will eventually be right with the world. But for now, it’s just another cancellation notification. Nothing to see here.