The National Hockey League lockout should end soon. The owners and players are finally bargaining for real.
The two sides finally quit posturing. Gary Bettman quit making take-it-or-leave-it offers. Owners are pressuring Bettman to salvage a partial season. Donald Fehr knows his rank and file members are getting more than a little restless.
It could take a few days, but the two sides could hammer out a tentative agreement this week by committing to making a deal.
Once this matter is resolved, teams will have precious little time to prepare for a 48- or 50-game season. Teams suffering slow starts risk falling out the abbreviated playoff race.
The Edmonton Oilers placed four key players in the American Hockey League this season. That commitment -- combined with the work other Oilers did in Europe this season – should help them blast out of the gate.
The St. Louis Blues should be reasonably prepared to start play. Several key players have stayed fresh by playing in Europe or down in the AHL.
Here is a quick update on the Blues scenario and some other hockey notes: