Reports have started to trickle in that the NHL may start chopping more games from the schedule and that the drop dead date for the season could be coming soon.
It has also been suggested that based on past NHL lockouts, where the 95 season was saved in January and the 2005 season wasn’t cancelled until February, the NHL and NHLPA still have plenty of time to make a deal.
On the potential for a season, Don Cherry told James Mirtle in the Globe and Mail “If it’s not done by three quarters of the way through December, I think it’s over. It has to be done by then. You could play a 42-game schedule – I wouldn’t mind that. As long as they don’t try to cram them in because you get a lot of injuries.”
Former Ranger Pat LaFontaine feels strongly that a deal will be in place by 12/1 and told the Buffalo News “I’m fairly optimistic that we’ll see hockey. I hope before Christmas, but I think worst-case scenario – I’m an optimistic person – I see at least a half a season.”
Pierre LeBrun of ESPN thinks that it’s way too early to think about calling off the season but did speak with one NHL owner who said that if there isn’t at least a tentative deal by next weekend the season could be lost.
LeBrun adds that some people believe all the doom and gloom talk is being used as as scare tactic to try and coax the players into making a deal.
Wayne Gretzky has said that he thinks a deal could be done in the next six weeks.
Last night Botta sent out tweets saying “Mercifully, this absurd game of chicken WILL have its day of reckoning earlier than ’04-05. My hope remains that fear of the self-destruction of the NHL and a few legacies will lead to a deal and a 64-game 2012-13 season.”