The NHL has said its deadline to strike a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement and to preserve a full 82-game schedule is today.While NHL commissioner Gary Bettman yesterday conceded that the prospect of having a full schedule seems unlikely, it's still a possibility.
What would jamming 82 games into a condensed time frame do to players from a physical standpoint, especially with little to no training camp? Four members of the Penguins were asked earlier this week.
Ben Lovejoy (right), defenseman - "It would obviously be the same for (all) teams. It’s whoever working harder now to be in shape. If you’re going to be playing a condensed schedule in then you’re going to be playing more often. You can look at the Olympic (season of 2009-10). I know as a guy in Wilkes-Barre during the Olympic year, we loved it because guy were constantly battling major and minor injuries. It’s going to come down to a lot of organizational depth too. Guys are going to break down more easily."Matt Cooke, left winger - "They’ve already said it’s one game every five weeks. Essentially you’re going to crunch (the Christmas break), you’re going to crunch or eliminate the All-Star game. It’s not going to be that much different I don’t think. Obviously the scheduling needs to change a little bit. I think for the most part, most players would rather play every other night anyway. You get into a rhythm and it makes it easier. I know most coaches don’t necessary like that because they don’t get a lot of practice time."
Craig Adams, right winger - "It’s going to be tough. The season is a grind as it is. But I think everybody would like to play a full season. If that’s the case, and we get to the point that there’s a deal and we can do that, people would be happy to do that."
Matt Niskanen, defenseman - "I don’t know if the little bit of training camp would affect it as much as that extra game every once in a while. It’s pretty intense. It’s a marathon as it is and you add one more game in there every couple of weeks. Players are inevitably going to get more tired and that can potentially lead to more injuries."
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