A lockout is looming in the NHL. The NHL's collective bargaining agreement (which was agreed upon after the lockout in 2004-05) is set to expire on September 15, which is just eight days away from today. The deadline is approaching and it is approaching quickly.
With another lockout looming, here are three scenarios for the 2012-13 NHL season: 1. the NHL and the NHLPA come to an agreement and the lockout is avoided, 2. the lockout ends early and there is a shortened season, 3. the lockout lasts all season long. The following is a look at each of these three scenarios.
If the season starts on time
The NHL season could still start on time but it looks doubtful right now. If the season did start in October as regularly scheduled, though, then it would be business as usual for the Devils and all of the other teams in the NHL. After losing in the Stanley Cup Finals to the Los Angeles Kings in June, both teams would have a little shorter of an offseason than the other 28 teams but that is certainly not anything major.
If the season was shortened (like the 1994-95 season)
When the New Jersey Devils won their first Stanley Cup back in 1995, it was after the regular season was cut down to 48 games due to an NHL lockout. Right now, this looks like the likeliest scenario. It actually could help the New Jersey Devils, too. The Devils are more of a veteran team and a shortened season could be good for players like Martin Brodeur, Patrik Elias and Bryce Salvador as they would get more rest. In general, a shortened season might be beneficial to most teams.
If the season was lost altogether (like the 2004-05 season)
Quite simply, no one wins in this scenario. Not the owners, players or fans. If the lockout lasted a full season (which is pretty unexpected at this point in time), then long time Devils like Brodeur and Elias would not only lose another season of their respective playing careers but each would also be one year closer to retirement. In addition, players such as superstar Ilya Kovalchuk would play in Russia in the meantime. Not one NHL fan wants to have to sit through another lockout.
It is truly amazing that another lockout is looming less than a decade after a season was wiped out. We all have to hope that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA leader Donald Fehr get their act together and give us fans what we want: an NHL season in 2012-13.
Michael Pellegrini has been a fan of the New Jersey Devils since the mid to late 1990s when they had players like Doug Gilmour and Dave Andreychuk in the later stages of their career.
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