Bettman said a minimum 48-game regular season would have to be played or the entire season will be canceled. To meet that demand, games probably need to start by late January, which is why Jan. 15 is viewed as the “season-is-cancelled” deadline.
In the meantime, Barons fans can watch the Edmonton Oilers' four cornerstone players.
Eberle, who played in last year's NHL All-Star Game, has scored 40 points. He's tied for the AHL scoring lead with Schultz, a rookie defenseman who has taken the league by storm.
Hall, the No. 1 overall pick in 2010, has two years of NHL experience. He joined the Barons a couple of weeks late coming off shoulder surgery but has displayed blazing speed and a unique knack for scoring goals.
The best of the group might be Nugent-Hopkins, a 19-year-old wonder kid who was the No. 1 overall pick in 2011. Currently playing with Canada's junior team in an international tournament in Russia, Nugent-Hopkins almost won Rookie of the Year last season.
Oklahoma City has been a .500 team due to penalty killing and defensive deficiencies. But the Fab Four has put on an entertaining offensive show, combining for an astonishing 52 goals in 28 games.
It's uncertain how long the Fab Four will play in OKC. But it's obvious why the Oilers gave Hall a $42 million extension; Eberle a $40 million extension; and Nugent-Hopkins and Schultz will receive big-money deals in the future. For as long as the lockout lasts, Barons fans are experiencing a rare treat.