At 9:00 p.m. PST Saturday, Dec. 15, the lockout will reach exactly three months or 13 weeks, whichever you prefer. In all likelihood, you prefer neither.
The two sides were close enough for player (NHLPA) rep. Donald Fehr to declare they were near a deal. They were also far enough away for that statement to anger owners who subsequently pulled all offers from the table.
But let us assume for a moment that they come to an agreement before Christmas. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has said for the season to have integrity, he cannot imagine fewer than the 48 games played following the first of three lockouts in his only collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations.
If you wanted integrity, Mr. Bettman, your lockout (see why he deserves the blame at that link) would have been a last rather than first resort. Money would come not from the players fans come to see and contracts already signed, but from three teams Forbes reported made five of every six NHL dollars last season.
Still, if the season starts in early January, it could be extended to the end of April to get as much as 17 weeks to work with. This would prevent the NHL from anything more than a minimally compacted schedule that could be much more detrimental in the physical game of hockey than it was in the NBA.
In a shortened season, the kind of slow starts the San Jose Sharks are known for would be deadly. There are 10 returning players San Jose will need to see more from right away if they are going to have a chance to compete for Lord Stanley's Cup...