NHL Lockout: 4 Schedule Formats the NHL Could Use for a Shortened Season

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NHL Lockout: 4 Schedule Formats the NHL Could Use for a Shortened Season
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Still holding out hope for a full season? Throw any remaining fantasies out the window.

Yesterday marked the passing of the NHL's unofficial deadline that ruled out the possibility of an 82-game season in 2012-2013. Then, on Friday, the league cancelled all previously-scheduled games through Nov. 30.

If the two stubborn sides ever fall in and settle on a CBA that will preserve at least a partial campaign, the league's schedule-makers will have a difficult time reformatting and recreating a new slate in time. The NBA is already occupying many of the NHL's arenas, the season will be restricted to a conclusion by late April and any redrawn formatting is sure to draw criticism from at least a few teams.

In a full season, teams play six games against each of four divisional opponents, four games against each of 10 non-divisional, in-conference opponents and 18 total games against the 15 teams of the opposite conference.

Naturally, cuts will have to be made from at least one of those categories to reduce the season's length, but finding the correct department in which to reduce matchups, could result in a surprisingly controversial decision.

Long before a known starting date and preferred season length is known, we offer four different formats that could satisfy the league's necessary shortening. From a slightly-reduced 72-game campaign to a last-resort 26-game marathon, consider the handful of season-reducing schedule format on the coming slides.

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