During previous instances in which both the NHL and NHLPA have butt heads, the league has showcased a knack for getting the gears turning quickly on a new season once common ground between all parties has been reached.
Once a tentative agreement to end the 2012-13 lockout was struck on Jan. 6, 2013 — a one-week training camp was mapped out in short order, beginning on Jan. 13 before a 48-game season commenced on Jan. 19.
But you’d be hard-pressed to find such optimism about a similar scenario playing out this season, even if the NHL, owners and players all find a way to resolve this ongoing strife over escrow, salary deferment and more by the end of this week.
Although the league hasn’t definitively budged yet on its proclamation of opening a shortened 2020-21 season by Jan. 1, 2021, the circumstances surrounding a sudden rapid restart are much different than they were in 2013.
If the framework for the 2020-21 campaign was somehow mapped out and signed off on by the end of this week, time still wouldn’t exactly be on the league’s side in terms of getting the green light for an early January start — not with travel restrictions, quarantines, testing and other factors preventing the NHL’s diaspora of players from making it back safety to their club’s city in a timely fashion.
Add in that teams that haven’t played games since early March (Sabres, Devils, Ducks,…