The threat of the third NHL lockout in 18 years is slowly changing from worst-case scenario to most-likely reality.
July 13th. August 14th. August 28th. September 1st.
The notable dates have come and gone, the negotiating periods have fizzled out fruitlessly, and the owners and players continue to hurl barbed shots without budging from the trenches.
With eight days until the dreaded date of Sept. 15th—the official expiration of the league's CBA—the situation looks bleaker than December in Siberia.
Actually, make that January.
But will every NHL team actually be hurt by a short work stoppage?
The lost fans, support, revenue and games will certainly sting, yet winning trumps all—and for at least a few lucky franchises, a delayed season could, in fact, help them in the latter regard.
For this handful of teams, an additional month or two away from hockey could play right into their hands.