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NHL cancels preseason games for September

By Marc Narducci, The Philadelphia Inquirer –

PHILADELPHIA — The NHL on Wednesday canceled its preseason schedule through Sept. 30 because of the lockout.

That means the Flyers will not host the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday and the New York Rangers on Sept. 29 or play the Toronto Maple Leafs in London, Ontario, on Wednesday.

The preseason schedule was supposed to start Sunday, with the Ottawa Senators traveling to Montreal. The regular season is scheduled to begin on Oct. 11.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league has “no set policy on cancellations” of other games.

Also Wednesday, a person familiar with the plan said that NHL employees at the league offices will switch to a four-day workweek on Oct. 1 because of the lockout. The move effectively cuts salaries by 20 percent. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the NHL had not made the plan public.

The news was first reported by the Canadian Press.

Timonen wondering. Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen went through the last NHL lockout in 2004-2005. He openly wondered whether his hockey-playing days will be over if the current lockout goes for an extended period.

The 37-year-old Timonen is in the final season of a six-year, $38 million contract. The NHL lockout entered its fourth day on Wednesday.

“It’s tough, because this might be my last year. You never know,” Timonen said after Wednesday’s workout at the Skate Zone in Voorhees that was attended by nine players. “I feel like I am in great shape. But to be honest, if this thing drags on another two or three months, who knows? I might lose my motivation, and we will see what happens after.”

Timonen said he is deciding on a year-to-year basis whether to continue playing. During the last lockout, which cost the NHL the 2004-2005 season, Timonen returned to Europe and played.

A native of Finland, Timonen was asked whether playing in Europe this season is a possibility if there is an extended lockout or no season at all.

“We will see how it goes,” he said.

According to the website The Fourth Period, Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov will play in Russia for CSKA in the KHL during the lockout. The goalie could not be reached for confirmation.

The Flyers attending Wednesday’s workout included defensemen Erik Gustafsson and Nick Grossmann, and forwards Matt Read and Jody Shelley. The goalies were former Flyer Brian Boucher and the Phantoms’ Niko Hovinen, whom the Flyers signed to an entry-level contract in May 2011.

Also on the ice were Phantoms defenseman Oliver Lauridsen and Boston Bruins minor-league defenseman Colby Cohen, whose family is from Villanova.

Former Flyer Todd Fedoruk, who said he is a free agent after serving as a volunteer coach last season for Trenton of the ECHL, has been running the workouts. Fedoruk, who said he is being paid to run the workouts, hopes to get into coaching and says that guiding the players is a good experience.

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