The clock is ticking.
It's now Friday October 26, 2012.
The day after the deadline set by league commissioner, Gary Bettman, to work out a new CBA if a full season were to be salvaged for the NHL.
Now it's expected that the NHL will cancel another large chunk of games from the regular-season schedule.
This, however, doesn't necessarily mean that the entire season is lost.
Last year, for instance, the NBA was locked out for over a month after their season was scheduled to start and still managed to work out a solution that saw them play a shortened 66-game regular season and a full slate of postseason games.
In fact, by the time the playoffs rolled around, many fans had forgotten the fact that they lost 16 of their team's regular season games and were just excited about the prospect of their team competing for a championship (or not, depending on their rooting allegiances).
There is no reason that the NHL can't do the same in 2012.
While it may not be easy and could turn out to be a logistical nightmare (the NBA, for instance, had each team play on three consecutive nights on multiple occasions), it can still be done and the NHL and NHLPA should aim to accomplish that now the full season cannot be played.
It would be mutually beneficial to both the owners and the players, as a lockout costs both sides an exorbitant sum of money.
It also hurts the image of the league, as well as the players, who all come off as greedy millionaires, putting hard-working people out of work to squabble over amounts of money most people can only ever dream of making.
As for those who would discount a shortened season and its eventual champion because of the lost games, keep in mind that 50-60 games is still a fair sample size to separate the contenders from the pretenders.
Not to mention that, come playoff time, every team would still need to win 16 games against the best teams in the league to win the Stanley Cup.
It would also help stop whatever exodus may currently be happening with regards to fans dropping the NHL as one of their interests.
Just because a full season may be out of the realms of possibility, doesn't mean that either side should give up or become more entrenched in their demands.
Compromise still needs to be made.
Not just for the sake of the league, but more importantly, for the sake of the people who really are the losers in this mess; the people out of work thanks to the lockout.