Lockout forces cancellation of 60 preseason games 

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The NHL lockout claimed its first casualties as the league said Wednesday it canceled 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 preseason set to open Sunday is canceled through Sept. 30, chopping 60 games off the schedule. This includes three Sharks games, Wednesday at Vancouver, Thursday vs. Phoenix and Sept. 29 vs. Anaheim.

A league-wide lockout was imposed by the NHL on the weekend when the previous labor agreement expired with the owners and players at odds over how to divide a $3.3 billion revenue pie.

There have been no formal talks between NHL owners and the union representing its players since last Wednesday, leaving the scheduled Oct. 11 start of the 2012-13 season in jeopardy.

The news came four days into a lockout that has already seen a number of big-name players, including NHL Most Valuable Player Evgeni Malkin, sign deals 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. — Reuters

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