While the NHLPA decides whether to buckle and accept the NHL’s 50-50 split of hockey-related revenue and stricter contracting rules, there is one part of the league’s last proposal that has not been thoroughly dissected: preserving the 82-game schedule.
The NHL might not need an 82-game regular season in order to be successful. In fact, shortening the six-month grind might help hockey to position itself for more growth in the future.
With its current start date (most seasons, anyway) in early October, the NHL puts itself in direct competition with Major League Baseball’s playoffs, as well as an NFL schedule that now includes Thursday night games. A few weeks into hockey’s regular season, the NBA starts up, further shoving the NHL into the corner.