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Imagining a shortened NHL schedule (with the NBA’s help)

Nov 8, 2012, 11:39 AM EDT

Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin Getty Images

At the risk of getting ahead of ourselves, if anyone is wondering how a shortened NHL schedule may look, it’s worth noting what the NBA did last season after the basketball lockout.

In brief:

—- 66 games, starting on Christmas Day

—- Lots of back-to-backs, and even some back-to-back-to-backs

—- 48 conference games, 18 non-conference

The NHL season was supposed to start on Oct. 11. If hockey gets going on Dec. 1 (maybe it could start sooner if a deal gets done in the next few days), the CBC’s Elliott Friedman thinks “the number of games will start with a 7.”

Obviously both sides will be motivated to play as many games as possible to maximum revenue/salary, but they’ll have to be realistic when it comes to travel and safety. (AHL teams play back-to-back-to-backs, but they also have long stretches without games.)

Also, if I’m a season-ticket holder, even though hockey’s great and all, I’m not sure I want to be going to the rink three or four nights in a week and shelling out big money to watch exhausted players go through the motions. (Not that the lockout has convinced many fans that the NHL cares what they think.)

First things first though — get a deal done.

  1. Stiller43 - Nov 8, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    Assuming a deal gets done, they would be idiots to play any more games than they are normally slated to play december-through the normal game 82.

    Basketball is a much easier sport on the body, and even those players were getting exhausted and injured with too many games and too short a span, which led to a bad product.

    I love me some hockey, but i do NOT want to see the pens playing ~4 games a week.

    • stakex - Nov 8, 2012 at 12:12 PM

      Well the thing is more games would probably mean a few less practices. A lot of people don’t realize it but practice is more demanding on an NHL player then a game. So if teams are practicing less, adding a few more games probably wouldn’t be terrible for the players. Not to mention there tend to be some bigger gaps between games that can be cut out to condense the season (they don’t need a week break around the All Star game for example).

      Of course less practice could lead to play thats not as sharp, and a slightly reduced product. Its only for a season though, and I would rather watch sloppy NHL hockey then no NHL hockey.

      • blomfeld - Nov 8, 2012 at 12:36 PM

        I agree Stakex, in that this “could lead to play that’s not as sharp”. But so what if play isn’t as tight as usual ? We’ll likely now have more scoring, more wild swings in games and less predictability … which could all end up making for a far more captivating, albeit “nail-biting” product this year ? Good times !

        GO KINGS GO eh !!!!! :)

  2. atwatercrushesokoye - Nov 8, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    Back to back to backs would be pretty tough in hockey, players get beat up way more than in basketball. But I could see lots of 3 in 4 nights taking place. I know it would never happen, but I’d rather see them play 60 games of quality hockey rather than trying to shoehorn in 70+ games and ending up with an inferior product. I watch the Flames, most nights that’s an inferior product in a normal season, I can’t imagine how bad it would be in compressed season!

    • blomfeld - Nov 8, 2012 at 12:50 PM

      “I watch the Flames most nights” ? …

      Dear God … you’re in our thoughts friend, so please take care and God speed to you

      • trick9 - Nov 8, 2012 at 2:21 PM

        Attitude of an bandwagon fan.

  3. mississippimudslinger - Nov 8, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    Gotta love how everyone is just assuming there’s going to be a n NHL season to begin with ya’ll are in for a rude awakening guys.

    • mmchugh619 - Nov 8, 2012 at 12:34 PM

      Yeah, because I come on here to hear the optimistic views of someone called mississippimudslinger. Do you even know what ice looks like?

    • blomfeld - Nov 8, 2012 at 12:42 PM

      You friend are an Agent of Despair and as such, I would suggest that you consider changing your ways asap ! … for right now “Agreement and Reason” are in the process of taking the stage, front and center ! :)

  4. mmchugh619 - Nov 8, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    I want as much hockey as possible, but player safety and health have to be considered. An injury that would cost you 2 weeks and 3-5 games, would now costs you up to 8 games, or 10.5% of the season.

  5. greatminnesotasportsmind - Nov 8, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    Lets worry about actually getting a CBA done first

  6. sjsharks66 - Nov 8, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    Don’t cram games in like that, just bring back the winter classic instead. Also it would be nice if a deal got done soon and we can have the thanksgiving day game.

  7. vanchuk - Nov 8, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    Re: ““I watch the Flames most nights” ? …

    Dear God … you’re in our thoughts friend, so please take care and God speed to you”

    Born and raised vancouverite, just moved to calgary this offseason… Lockout has almost been a blessing. Almost

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