At the Sports Business Journal, Chris Botta writes about how Gary Bettman has said that he won’t allow the NHL to play a season that has fewer than 48 games.
The 1994-95 season started on January 20th and ended on May 3rd with the playoffs ending on June 24th.
Botta adds that there aren’t many league observers who view the Devils Stanley Cup win in 1995 as “tainted” because it only featured a regular season of 48 games.
Adam Rotter: Everything, to me, is about the playoffs and if you still need to go through 4 rounds and win 16 games then the Stanley Cup isn’t tainted. I don’t view the Devils in 95 as having a tainted championship or the Spurs or Heat who won NBA titles in lockout shortened seasons. If you make it through the grind of the playoffs then you deserve to call yourself champion.
At True Hockey, Andy Strickland writes that if there is no CBA deal by January 1 than the NHL should just cancel the season since playing fewer than 50 games would just be a money grab.
Strickland says that if the plan is to play 48 games than the two sides should just come to their senses, make the deal now and play more games.
He says that saving the season for the sake of the fans doesn’t make sense since the fans already know how the NHL feels about them, “The NHL already thinks the fans are a bunch of lap dogs who’ll buy tickets and purchase merchandise whenever the game returns, starting the season just a few weeks before baseball pitchers and catchers report is just further proof.”
On Thursday Bettman said, “When it gets to the point where we can’t play a season with integrity, with a representative schedule, then we’ll be done,. If you go back in history, in ’94-95 I think we played 48 games. I can’t imagine wanting to play fewer than that.”
At USA Today, Kevin Allen says that if the season starts on January 1 and ends on April 15 it would be a 15 week season. That would mean playing three games a week and playing four games a week every five weeks.
In the NY Times, Ken Belson and Jeff Klein write that the best hope for a season will likely include 56 games being played.
They write that many teams are desperate for revenue as they have had to repay season ticket holders and sponsors or work out arrangements for free food, parking and other events at the arena.
In terms of the Rangers, who share MSG with the Knicks and many concerts, they say that with the transformation going on they need to start bringing in the Rangers revenue.
In terms of sponsors, they say that any season that features fewer than 62 games allows them to pay the NHL a prorated percentage of the money they would normally pay under an 82 game season.
56 games would net the NHL 68% of what they would get in a season with 82 games and a 50 game schedule would net the NHL 61%.
In closing they write, “The league and its owners realize that the window for even a truncated season is narrowing, one more reason to believe a deal with the players may be struck sooner rather than later.”
4:37PM: Tom Gulitti tweets that if the season starts soon there will likely be close to 60 games played. The season will be 56 games if it starts around Christmas and 54 if it starts on Jan 1.
1:09PM: At True Hockey, Andy Strickland writes that the NHL, if they strike a deal, needs to be smart about when they start the season and make sure that the launch day is one where people will be excited and likely home from work.
He suggests launching around Christmas time or on January 1 and that starting on a random day wouldn’t provide the same “impact or punch.”
Adam Rotter: The NBA started on Christmas last year with marquee games and the NHL should do the same when they start up. Jan 1 makes sense as they had that time reserved for the Winter Classic anyway, but a triple header on NBC and NBC Sports Network would be a nice way to bring things back. Something like Rangers/Flyers, Red Wings/Blackhawks and then Kings/Canucks would be a way to bring excitement back to the league.
1:59PM: Bob McKenzie tweets that specifics from the meeting between the players and owners yesterday weren’t talked about during the BOG. He says that the reason was because negotiations are at such a sensitive stage.
1:55PM: Michael Grange said on Sportsnet that Bill Daly made a presentation during the BOG meetings about what the players were asking for.
1:43PM: Pierre LeBrun tweets that there was talk of how many games the league would play in a shortened season during the BOG meeting and it was thought that 60 would be too many.
Tim Panaccio says that it would likely be a 50-56 game season
John Davidson: "We feel good about the information we've gotten."— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) December 05, 2012
Nick Kypreos says on Sportsnet that some coaches are calling players saying to get ready because they could be playing by the 15th of December.
Doug MacLean says that the league needs to start before Christmas and that this may be a season where everyone agrees to play through Christmas.
Kypreos says that if both sides want to get a deal done then it could happen in two hours.
Adam Rotter: I expect we will hear a similar date from the owners following the Board of Governors meeting today. With the progress that seemed to be made last night putting a firm date on things should end the potential for dragging things out to try and win one last point.
In the Ottawa Citizen, Wayne Scanlon writes about how a shortened schedule may not be the best thing for the NHL after all the damage they have caused during the lockout.
Scanlon writes, “This time around, following the third work stoppage in 18 years, the NHL will need time to develop a creative marketing plan and mea culpas to appease fans who cannot fathom this inability to sort out revenue splits and contract arrangements during prosperous times.”
He notes that the hardcore fans are going to return since “hockey means too much to that type of fan to just walk away for good” but the casual fan, who drive TV ratings, may take a long time return.