At some point, unless the two sides really screw things up, there's going to be NHL hockey this season. It may not come as quickly as anyone wants but there's still reason to believe a season that starts in December or early January should still happen. And with that shortened season comes an even shorter training camp.
It's going to be a whirlwind of activity with players rushing back from Europe, scrambling back from the AHL and reconvening from local informal skates. Training camp likely won't last any longer than seven days. Seven days to get in game shape, seven days to earn a roster spot. For those of us in the media, seven days to pump out a season preview.
It's going to be fun, if the two sides will ever let it happen.
To get a sense of what it's going to be like logistically and what concerns teams may have, at least one younger GM said he planned on leaning on more experienced colleagues to get ideas on how to best run a week-long training camp.
"I'll talk to guys who went through it in 1994-95," he said of the last lockout. "But right now, you really just wait."
Doug Armstrong is one of those experienced guys. The Blues GM was an assistant under Bob Gainey in Dallas during that lockout, which ended Jan. 11 with enough time for a short training camp and 48-game season. Armstrong may have the experience of that season but he's not sure it will help. This lockout is its own animal.
"The difference then was that we had played the preseason. We had training camp," Armstrong said. "A lot of guys haven't skated since April in a competitive environment. Before they had at least skated all of September in a competitive environment and they were ready to go. This one has basically been, for a lot of teams, from the end of the regular season until whenever this thing ends. I really believe it is uncharted territory."
With it comes concern. And questions about how it will impact players and prospects on the fringe of an NHL roster.
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