Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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Four Wild preseason games axed off the 2012-13 schedule

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild off-season news Updated: September 19, 2012 - 4:47 PM

The first damage to NHL business actually occurred prior to the lockout way back in July when the NHL didn't schedule the opening to the 2012-13 season in Europe.

Then in late August, rookie tournaments began to be canceled. Then earlier this month, the league canceled its annual gathering of top NHL talent in New York for promotion, marketing and media purposes.

But as expected today, the first real casualty of the lockout came when the NHL canceled all 61 preseason games through Sept. 30.

That means four Wild exhibition games have been canceled: Sept. 25 at Boise (Dallas Stars); Sept. 26 at home against Dallas; Sept. 27 at home against St. Louis and Sept. 29 at St. Louis. That leaves three exhibition games that will more than likely eventually be canceled, too: Oct. 2 at home vs. Winnipeg; Oct. 4 at Winnipeg, Oct. 6 at Calgary and then four days in Banff, which I'll be selfishly the most devastated to see go.

What all this means: Lost revenue, which will only make negotiations between these two stubborn sides -- the NHL and NHLPA -- all the more difficult because now the NHL will try to shrink the share of revenue the players get from a shrinking pie.

"The cancellation of the schedule was necessary because of the absence of a Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL Players’ Association and the NHL," the league said in a statement.

If you have single-game preseason tickets to Wild home games:

Fans who purchased single game tickets (pre-season games) via TicketMaster.com or by phone will be refunded upon confirmation the game will be missed.

Fans who purchased pre-season tickets via TM outlets or the Xcel Energy Center box office would need to return the tickets to the place of purchase to receive their refund, upon confirmation that the game will be missed.

If you're a season-ticket holder, the Wild announced Monday what your options are.

One piece of good news is it's looking real good that the first three days of Aeros training camp will be at the X, including a couple open scrimmages to the public.

Happy lockout everyone!

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