The past couple days a select group of owners and players have been meeting and reportedly having very constructive and serious collective bargaining agreement talks. It’s leading to a cautious optimism by some fans and sports writers.
Others out of fear of jinxing the momentum of the current CBA talks refuse to talk about the potential of the lockout ending and ending soon. Then there are those that have allowed themselves to believe the lockout will be ending soon and some have even begun to speculate on how long an NHL season could be if the lockout ended by the conclusion of this week.
Most predictions are somewhere in the 50-60 game range and apparently even the NHL Board of Governors feels a 50-60 game regular season is possible.
One thing we know for sure is that we can count on a slew of groin pulls, hamstring pulls, torn ACLs and various other injuries if the lockout ends soon and an abbreviated schedule is put in place.
Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com reported, “There was talk in BOG of possible NHL schedule IF there’s a deal. One team exec said 60 games likely too much but 50-plus possible…” So, like I said even the BOG feels that a 50-60 game schedule is achievable.
It’s important to note that Ken Campbell of the Hockey News has an interesting take on why the BOG feels a 50-60 game season is possible if a CBA is struck by the end of this week. Campbell writes, “According to a source with a good knowledge of the NHL’s business workings, the league has a deal with its major sponsors that will pay it 100 percent of its money if the league plays a schedule of 61 or more games. If the schedule dips below 61 games, the league will receive only 75 percent of its sponsorship money. That percentage continues to decrease down to 50 percent if the league only plays a 41-game schedule.”
Its easy to be cynical and feel that CBA talks are only picking up now because sponsorship money is in danger of being lost by the NHL and you wouldn’t be wrong in feeling that way. In fact I count myself amongst one of the cynics, but with the NHL already losing a reported $12 million a day what’s a little sponsorship money?
However, I also feel that at this point I could care less about motives and just want my NHL hockey back, abbreviated schedule and all.