A year ago, the NBA went through a lockout of its own.
The rhetoric between the league and its players association was decidedly negative, and for the longest period, it seemed like a season-long lockout was in order.
However, just when all seemed to be lost, the two sides came together and saved the season. NBA teams started playing on Christmas Day. The season consisted of a compressed 66-game regular season and a full playoff schedule.
I believe the NHL will follow the same model. Despite the lack of optimism in mid-October, the two sides will come together before they are forced to pull the plug on the year.
Once that happens, the league will have to work on the particulars. I believe the NHL teams will each play 66 games with fewer nights off than usual.
In some ways, it will be even better than the standard NHL season because there will be more games played per week, and each game will mean that much more.
My predictions for the final standings follow on the next six slides.