The NHL and the NHL Players' Association are expected to resume talks to end the lockout.
The presence of a federal mediator may help the process. Perhaps a neutral third party professional can help unlock the stalemate and get NHL teams back on the ice.
Time is critical if there is going to be a 2012-13 season. Assuming that happens, team are likely to play a compacted schedule of 48-to-60 games.
Some teams, like the defending champion Los Angeles Kings, will want to pick up where they left of and make another run at the Stanley Cup. Other teams may consider themselves contenders.
However, there are five teams that probably have no shot of contending this year. Those teams should consider taking a wrecking ball to their roster so they can be legitimate Stanley Cup contenders in two or three seasons.