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NHL memo to off-ice officials a harbinger of lockout’s end?

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy

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AP

On Friday, Dan O'Neill, the NHL’s Vice President for Arena & Event Operations, sent a memo addressed to all "Arena Technical Coordinators, Video Goal Judges and Video Goal Technicians."

It contained – in stupefying details, to the layman – information about technical changes implemented for "the upcoming season," specifically mentioning that the NHL and NHLPA are continuing to work toward a resolution that, if reached, will  necessitate that arena personnel are "ready to go."

An off-ice official that requested anonymity told Puck Daddy on Saturday that O’Neill’s email was “the first time all year” the officials have received this type of correspondence from the League.

Another factor for optimism: déjà vu. During the last shortened season, off-ice officials received a similar notice and the NHL was “playing games in less than two weeks," according to the source.

This type of chatter has picked up lately. Teams have been sending messages to their managers and staffers “all hands on deck” messages for the last few weeks: Be prepared to head back at a moment’s notice. In some cases, they’ve been false starts, as the NHL and NHLPA talks have teased a resolution. But that’s what’s been communicated.

So this sounds like a good sign the NHL is gearing up to (finally) start the season. But there’s really only one person that can validate those preparations. Oh, what’s-his-name … Don something. Old guy. Likes baseball. It’ll come to us …

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