Read: This Isn’t Going To Get Settled Until The Clock Comes Close To Reaching Zero

At CBC, Elliotte Friedman writes that the belief among many people in hockey is that this deal won’t get done until the absolute last possible minute before the drop dead date.

He writes that the NHL wants the players to think that the date is coming soon, but that it likely won’t be in December since they don’t want to see headlines like “Merry Christmas, they’ve cancelled the season!”

Friedman writes that the drop dead date is likely to fall in the first hall of January and the league won’t wait as long as they did in 2005 to cancel the season.

One thing Friedman notes is that when the 1994-94 lockout ended, the CBA wasn’t signed until the following August and the league and players agreed to a “memorandum of understanding” that they would follow the rules of what the new CBA would be while the 48 game season was going on.