Taking bets on when the NHL will return

Taking bets on when the NHL will return
September 15, 2012, 8:24 pm

Now that the NHLs 700-plus players are officially lockedout, when will the NHL open its doors again for business?In time for the start of training camps on Sept. 21?In time for the season openers on Oct. 11?In time for the Winter Classic on Jan. 1?And if it the lockout drags on beyond Jan. 1, will there bea season at all?The last time the NHL issued a work stoppage in 2004, theplayers dug in their heels and missed an entire season. Caps union rep Brooks Laichsaid on Friday the players have the same resolve they did back then.I hear rumors every day, Capitals right wing Joel Wardsaid when asked how long he thinks the work stoppage will last. Ive heardChristmas, Ive heard Thanksgiving, Ive heard two weeks. I just dont evenlisten to it anymore.How long do fans feel the lockout will last?Sonja Jones, 33, of Owens Mills, Md., attended the Capitalsfinal pre-lockout practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Friday and believes theNHL will salvage a season.My gut says that if they can do it, they will start late,Jones said. I dont know if theyll try to fit in a full season. If it goespast a month I dont think theyll get in a full season. At least its not an Olympicyear, but Im not sure if players would want to extend the season even longerand miss the 2013 World Championships.Fred Welker, 68, of Arlingtonis an original Capitals season ticket holder. He said hes still hoping theplayers and owners can strike an agreement before training camp. But he said theyllneed to get to the bargaining table more often than they have in recent weeks.I just hope its short and sweet, Welker said. I mean,they dont negotiate. They talk for a half hour and nothing comes out of it.I dont understand why they dont keep meeting until they get it done. Imhoping a miracle will happen. But its very unlikely.Jean Williams, 33, of Hershey, Pa., is expecting the lockout tofollow a similar course to the one in 1994-95 when 468 games were lost from Oct.1 through Jan. 19. That year, an agreement was reached on Jan. 11 and a 48-gameseason commenced on Jan. 20.Im crossing my fingers and hoping they start the season atleast midway, Williams said. But I would not be surprised if they dont playat all.