Two of the other three major North American sports leagues have recently gone through lengthy labor disputes, so there is a sense of what may happen with the NHL.
Ultimately a lot depends on if the lockout ends in time for the regular season schedule to remain the same, as was the case in the NFL, or if it will shorten the season like in the NBA.
If it is like the NFL’s brief work stoppage, then the results of a lockout will be relatively small over the course of an 82-game season. If there has to be a lockout, keeping the regular season intact would be good for hockey fans. But Bettman’s track record makes that seem less likely than no lockout at all.
Chances are it will be a situation reminiscent of the NBA, if one occurs.
For a good idea of how the Stars might perform in a shortened season, look no further than their roommates in the American Airlines Center: The Dallas Mavericks.
In the offseason before the NBA lockout, the Dallas Mavericks had a lot of roster turnover and fielded a team full of new veteran faces. That is very similar to how the Stars approached this free agency period by signing Ray Whitney, Jaromir Jagr and bringing in Derek Roy.
The condensed schedule and lack of a preseason really made it difficult for NBA players to develop chemistry with their new teammates. With high roster turnover in key positions, it could cost the Stars a few games early on.
Another obvious outcome of the condensed schedule was that many veterans became tired towards the end of the season. The Mavericks, as well as other NBA teams, had scheduled rest days for starters in hopes of having fresh legs for the playoffs.
If a lockout-shortened season plays out the way the past few seasons have for the Stars, a rest day is a luxury that can’t be afforded in the thick of a playoff chase during the final weeks.
A key difference between the two teams is that the Mavericks were coming off a championship season whereas the Stars didn’t make the postseason. While a championship “hangover” could have been part of the Mavericks' failure to repeat, the lockout played just as much of a role, if not more.
Now this is not to say there is no hope for the Stars. In all sports it only takes one good run. Proof from last year would be the New York Giants, St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Kings.
The Stars have proven many times throughout the season that they can get hot and go on sustained runs. Sadly for Dallas fans and players, it is never at the right time.
Maybe a shortened season would knock off the last couple of weeks during the season when the Stars typically struggle and fall out of contention.
While the negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement still bounce between counter proposals from the league and the players association, pessimistic fans and writers are bracing for the worst.
Hopefully both sides can pull it together before the deadline. Nobody wants to switch their hash tag to #IsItNovemberYet or #IsIt2013Yet.
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