According to Bruce Garrioch in the Ottawa Sun, the NHL was ready to cancel all games up to January 14th last week but decided to hold off in the hopes that they could draw the players back to the table and get the talks back on track.
He spoke with an insider who said that the NHL wanted to show the players that if a deal could be made soon and training camp started on 12/21 the season could start on 12/31. Garrioch was told that the time is now for Fehr to set the drop dead date.
In posts to twitter, Nick Cotsonika disagreed with the idea of the NHL setting a drop dead date.
He says that setting a drop dead date would confirm the NHLPA suspicion that the NHL had a date in mind to start the season and if the NHL did set a drop dead date then Don Fehr and the players may not be willing to negotiate until the bitter end.
In am important point, Cotsonika says that setting a drop dead date would mean that if a deal isn’t reached the NHL would actually have to be willing to cancel the season.