We saw it during the 2011 NFL season. We saw it during the 2011-12 NBA season. And now, we'll see it in the 2013 NHL season.
A shortened training camp will inevitably lead to more injuries early in the year. And while it's unavoidable, it will absolutely cause a certain level of anxiety in trainers' rooms, front offices and fanbases.
That's what happens when training camp lasts all of six days. Yes, six days. From Sean Gentille of the SportingNews:
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the Canadian Press on Tuesday that he expects camps to open on Jan. 13, seven days after the new CBA was tentatively agreed upon in New York. The deal has yet to be ratified by either side, with majority votes needed by both the owners on Wednesday and NHLPA later in the week.
The union's decision to wait a bit to ratify is allowing players to get some pre-camp workouts in and, in some cases, take their time returning from their European teams. It also has effectively put the clamps on any possibility, however small, that a 50-game season could start on Jan. 15. Instead, a six-day camp and 48 games starting on Jan. 19 is all but official.
Now, a good portion of the NHL players should be in game shape, having spent the lockout in European leagues. Some of the younger players should be okay as well, as some played in the AHL.
But as Chuck Weber—head coach of the AHL's San Antonio Rampage—told Tony Uminski of the San Antonio Express-News, “You’re gonna see a lot of energy that first week and then the groins and the hip flexors are going to kick in."
And what about those players who didn't play overseas, especially superstars like Sidney Crosby? How much of a bummer will it be if, after such a lengthy lockout, several stars go down early to the inevitable pulls and strains to come?
Hey, that's life after a lockout. And a 48-game sprint to the playoffs, with the teams likely only playing intra-conference foes, will certainly be fun. Still, it would have been nice if the two sides could have come to an agreement a little bit sooner. I mean, a six-day training camp is pretty absurd.
To be honest—the two sides probably could have agreed to the 50-50 split over the summer, but I suppose we have to let bygones be bygones, huh?
Here's to hoping that we don't see too many injuries in the season. Let's hope that a good portion of the league's players spending time overseas will limit the bangs, bruises and pulls early on. And finally, let's pray that the 48-game sprint to the playoffs will prove to be incredibly memorable.
That way, we can all forget about that dreadful lockout. Here's to hockey!