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Thanks to the 119-day lockout, the NHL season has been reduced to 48 games. While the schedule has been compressed, it does not seem to be quite as grueling as the schedule that resulted from the NBA lockout.
Since coaches won’t have to worry about resting their star players for a long, grinding season, the best players will get much more ice time. Penguins coach Dan Bylsma showed a willingness to play forwards Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin together and often, with Crosby logging 19 minutes and Malkin 16:50 in the opener.
The two spent a good deal of time together on the ice against Philadelphia, and I expect this trend to continue throughout the season, both for the Penguins and other star-heavy teams.