A: It shouldn't. The disagreement that fueled the 2004-05 lockout was over adopting a completely new economic system built on a salary cap. This isn't about philosophical changes — it's about the league wanting to pay out a smaller percentage of revenue to players because the NBA and NFL got similar agreements. There is a deal here for reasonable people to make. The key word is “reasonable.”
Q: Which players would be hurt most?
A: Veterans such as New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur and Ducks winger Teemu Selanne might be robbed of a farewell season. Elite young forwards such as Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos, Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby and the New York Islanders' John Tavares could lose prime seasons that would have boosted them on the career scoring lists.
Q: What are players doing?
A: Many have signed with European or Russian teams for the duration. Some will play on a charity tour in Quebec. Those who are working out must rent ice time and can't use team locker rooms or workout facilities. The only players who will be paid are those with pre-existing hockey-related injuries and those whose contracts included signing bonuses due before Sept. 15. Everyone will get back almost all the 8.5 percent of their salaries they paid into escrow last season.
Q: Will the Kings keep the Cup if the season is canceled?
A: Alas, they don't. It will be returned to the Hockey Hall of Fame after appearing at some promotional events.
Q: What will be inscribed on the Cup if the season is canceled?
A: Probably what was inscribed after the canceled 2004-05 season: “Season Not Played.”
Q: What's a good guess for when the season will start?
A: A December settlement with the season opening with the Winter Classic on New Year's Day. But after the 1994-95 lockout, the NHL salvaged a 48-game season by starting in mid-January and playing deep into June, so a later start is possible.