NHL cancels games through Jan. 14

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NHL cancels games through Jan. 14

The NHL announced another wave of cancelations on Thursday, and a deadline to save any kind of shortened season may now be in view.

All games through Jan. 14 are officially off of the calendar, bringing the total number of canceled games to 625, or 50.8 percent of the season. There’s a strong possibility that if there is no new collective bargaining agreement over the next two-to-three weeks, the next announcement will be that the entire 2012-13 season is kaput.

In 1994-95, a 48-game season began on Jan. 20, just nine days after the NHL and players’ association agreed on a deal. In his most recent press conference on Dec. 7, commissioner Gary Bettman said that he couldn’t imagine playing a season shorter than that one.

He added, “the fact of the matter is, we’ll get to a point, at that point we’ll conclude we can’t have a season with integrity, and then we’ll have to make a tough decision,” Bettman said. “I am certainly hoping that we don’t get to that place. But when we do, we’ll be there.”

If they do reach an agreement, the schedule would be re-written from scratch and would likely feature only games within the conference.

On Wednesday, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly gave fans a slight ray of hope when he was asked by Hockey Night in Canada radio’s Elliotte Freidman to give a “yes or no” answer to the question of, “Will there be a season?” Daly replied, “yes.”

Union head Donald Fehr, speaking at an NHLPA charity game in Toronto, said, “I certainly hope he’s right.”

There are no meetings currently scheduled between the two sides.

Sharks ink pair of European prospects

Sharks ink pair of European prospects

The Sharks officially announced the signing of defenseman Radim Simek to a one-year contract on Tuesday, as well as Swedish forward Filip Sandberg to a two-year contract.

Simek’s deal was reported on Monday and confirmed by NBC Sports California. The contract is valued at $925,000 for the 2017-18 season, a source confirmed. The 24-year-old defenseman spent the past five seasons in the Czech league, posting 24 points (11g, 13a) and 30 penalty minutes with a plus-18 rating last season. A left-handed shot, he is listed at five-foot-11 and 196 pounds on the IIHL website.

In 211 career games in the Czech league, he posted 91 points (37g, 54a) and a plus-51 rating.

"Radim is a quick transition defenseman who drives the play offensively and plays with a physical edge," general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. "We like his offensive instincts especially on special teams and think his game will translate well in North America."

Sandberg, 22, has 71 points (25g, 46a) in 204 career games in the Swedish league. Last season, he posted 25 points (8g, 17a) and a plus-17 rating in 52 games.

Sandberg is set to make $742,500 in 2017-18 and $792,500 in 2018-19, a source confirmed.

The five-foot-nine, 180-pound Stockholm native also competed in the World Jr. Championships in 2013 and 2014, helping Sweden win silver both years.

"Filip is a very creative player who sees the ice well and can create offense in limited space," Wilson said. "He plays a high-pressure, puck-pursuit game and his battle level is something we have been impressed with, especially against older players. We are excited for him to join our organization."

The contracts for Simek and Forsberg are two-way deals, allowing them to play for the AHL Barracuda next season.

Sharks sign defenseman from Czech Republic

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AP

Sharks sign defenseman from Czech Republic

The Sharks have signed Czech defenseman Radim Simek to a one-year contract.

The two-way deal, originally reported by Radio Praha in the Czech Republic, is expected to be announced by the Sharks later this week, according to a source. Simek just finished competing for his country in the 2017 IIHF World Championships, skating in all eight games for the Czech Republic while posting one goal, one assist, 11 shots and a minus-two rating.

Simek, 24, has spent the last five seasons in the Czech League. In 42 games for Liberec in 2016-17, he posted 24 points (11g, 13a) and 30 penalty minutes with a plus-18 rating. A left-handed shot, he is listed at five-foot-11 and 196 pounds on the IIHF website.

The New York Rangers were also interested in Simek, according to the report.

Simek will likely begin next season with the AHL Barracuda.

The Sharks have signed a number of free agents out of Europe in recent seasons, including Joonas Donskoi in 2015 and Marcus Sorensen and Tim Heed last May.