Bettman: NHL hasn’t planned “alternate” schedule in case of a lockout

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If a lockout shortens the 2012-13 season, a tough question might emerge: should the NHL “compress” its schedule to squeeze in as many games as possible?

Lance Hornby reports that Gary Bettman says the league hasn’t run through that scenario just yet.

“We haven’t even focused on what the timing should be, because my hope is we make a deal on a timely basis,” Bettman said.

The NBA’s 2011-12 season kicked off on Christmas Day 2011 with a compressed schedule of 66 games.

Bruce Arthur discussed the challenges that came from doing so.

Due to the shortened season, teams played an average of 3.9 games per week this year instead of 3.5. That might not sound like a huge difference, but not only does it mean more games, it also means fewer practices and weight-lifting sessions throughout the year. Throw in a shortened training camp and the inability for players to work with their teams’ strength-and-conditioning coaches during the lockout, and players came into this season in wildly varying degrees of shape. Strength coaches tried to develop a plan for this during the lockout, but NBA teams have a routine that is based on playing 82 games over 5½ months.

One can only imagine the impact it could have in a physical sport like hockey.

(H/T to Joe Haggerty)