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The NHL has wiped out the entire preseason. The league's next step will be one of two things: Either come together with the NHL Players' Association on a new collective bargaining agreement, or start canceling regular-season games.
The NHL announced Thursday that it has canceled all preseason games, one week after it axed the exhibition schedule through Sept. 30. The Buffalo Sabres were slated to play seven preseason contests. The third was supposed to be held tonight against Toronto in First Niagara Center.
Regular-season games are scheduled to start Oct. 11, with the Sabres opening the 2012-13 season Oct. 13 with a home game against Pittsburgh. Unless the league and union make headway this weekend, those games are in jeopardy.
The sides are scheduled to begin three days of negotiations today in New York. Representatives for the NHL and union haven't negotiated since Sept. 12, three days before the league locked out the players. Both sides said certain concessions within their proposals would be off the table if a lockout started, so talks are essentially starting from scratch.
The money that should be paid to the players during the next CBA differed by $1 billion in the latest offers submitted by each side. With that large gap, the league and NHLPA are shifting their focus away from core economic issues and toward secondary provisions.

email: jvogl@buffnews.com