The lockout by North America's National Hockey League has claimed its first casualties as the league announced it has cancelled the first week of preseason games given the absence of a collective bargaining agreement.
The NHL, in the midst of its fourth work stoppage in 20 years, said in a statement that the pre-season, set to open this weekEnd, was cancelled, chopping 60 games off the schedule.
A league-wide lockout was imposed by the NHL last weekend when the previous labor agreement expired with the owners and players at odds over how to divide a 4 billion dollar revenue pie.
The season is scheduled to start on October 11th.
Some big-name players, including NHL Most Valuable Player, Evgeni Malkin, has signed a deal to play in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League.
The work stoppage is the first in the NHL since a lockout wiped out the entire 2004-05 season.