For the better part of the past four months, many wondered whether there would be an NHL season. Now there is no clear direction as to when it will begin.
While there are plenty of indicators pointing toward the a 48-game season starting on Jan. 19 and NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly continues to say that is the target date, nothing is confirmed.
The full schedule will not be released until after the collective bargaining agreement is ratified both by the league and the NHL Players' Association. While the league will hold a Board of Governors meeting today to vote on the deal, the players expect to begin the electronic voting process either today or Thursday and may not be able to tabulate all the votes until Saturday.
There is also no official start date for the opening of training camps, which also won't happen until after the CBA is ratified. That means camps will not open any earlier than Saturday, but it most likely will be Sunday.
Though there are still plenty of moving parts and nothing is confirmed as the logistics are ironed out, at least the players know there is a season to get ready for now.
"I think everyone knowing now the season is going to start, I don't think guys are too concerned about when,'' said Tampa Bay Lightning C Nate Thompson, who played for the Alaska Aces in the ECHL during the lockout. "I think guys will just keep doing what they are doing knowing that there will be a start time, probably by next week hopefully. I think guys are a lot more comfortable with that than they were with the alternative.''
Players continue to trickle into town as the start of camp approaches. In addition to Thompson, D Matt Carle skated on Tuesday along with D Brian Lee. D Victor Hedman and G Anders Lindback were expected in town late Tuesday and could be on the ice today as informal workouts continue.
Nuts and Bolts
Over the summer, Thompson became engaged to girlfriend Cristin Stuart, who is the sister of Winnipeg Jets D Mark Stuart. The couple set a wedding date for July 19. ... RW Marty St. Louis acted as the de facto coach during drills on Tuesday, running the rest of the players through the 45-minute practice. He said somebody else will handle the role today.