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NHL Lockout: Why a Shortened Schedule Would Create a Memorable NHL Season

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 11:  Jarret Stoll #28 of the Los Angeles Kings hoists the Stanley Cup in celebration after defeating the New Jersey Devils in Game Six of the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals at Staples Center on June 11, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Kings defeated the Devils 6-1 to win the series 4 games to 2.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Nicholas GossCorrespondent INovember 28, 2012

A shortened schedule would create a memorable 2012-13 NHL season, and according to ESPN's John Buccigross, the league has already worked on a compressed schedule.

NHL player told me NHL team front office person told him, 48 game schedule beginning in Jan. is already outlined #rockoutwithyourNHLockout

— John Buccigross (@Buccigross) November 28, 2012

Some hockey fans are opposed to the idea of a shortened season, but many people said the same about the NBA last year when basketball began its 66-game schedule on Christmas Day following the lockout.

The NBA had an enormously successful season in 2011-12, and fan interest in the league was excellent.

When you have a shortened schedule, there are more games per week around the league than there normally are in an 82-game schedule.

This means there is more hockey to watch each night, which is great for fans everywhere, especially those who have the NHL Center Ice or GameCenter Live packages. Being able to watch several quality matchups each night would be exciting for fans.

There's also the possibility that more teams will have a chance to make the playoffs in a shortened schedule because the best teams won't be able to build a massive, impossible-to-overcome lead in the division title races since there wouldn't be 82 games.

Who doesn't want more intense playoff races late in the year?

Having more teams in playoff contention late in the season would be fantastic for the NHL because when fanbases give up on teams who don't have a chance to earn a playoff berth, it's tough for those clubs to earn revenue and make a profit.

Speaking of the playoffs, we often see teams—even entire series—affected by important players suffering through injuries after a grueling 82-game regular season.

With a smaller amount of regular-season games—no matter how much more frequent they are—players should be a bit more fresh and healthy when the playoffs arrive. Having more players with fewer injuries who are more energized come playoff time could create a memorable 2013 NHL playoffs because the quality of hockey would likely increase.

Another popular argument against a shortened schedule is that the accomplishment of winning the Stanley Cup wouldn't be as impressive as winning one during a normal 82-game schedule.

Winning the Stanley Cup is one of the toughest challenges in sports, and it doesn't matter how long the regular season is because whether you play 48 games or 82 games, it's still going to be very difficult to lift this trophy in June.

A shortened season would give hockey fans a memorable season, with quality hockey available to watch every night and the possibility of an even better and more exciting Stanley Cup playoffs.

Since every game would be more important than normal in a shorter season because there would be fewer of them, the players' intensity would be taken to another level each night, and that would be great for the fans.

You may not like the idea of a shortened NHL season, but it's a lot better than having no NHL action to watch until September of next year, when the 2013-14 preseason begins.

 

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