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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.

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