Red Wings forward Daniel Cleary believes the drop-dead date for starting the NHL season is Jan. 15. (DAVE ABEL/QMI Agency file photo)
Does the NHL season have a best-before date?
According to Detroit Red Wings forward Dan Cleary, it does. And that date in Jan. 15, he told the Detroit News.
"If nothing is going on by Jan. 15, that would be for me an end-all. It has to be," Cleary said. "I know they canceled Feb. 16 last time, but it's not fathomable to have a season at that point. You can't have a 35-game season.
"When it gets to the point where we can't play a season with integrity, then we'll be done. If you go back in history, in 1994-95, I think we played 48 games. I can't imagine wanting to play fewer than that."
In 2004-05, commissioner Gary Bettman pulled the plug on the season Feb. 16. The NHL lockout is nearing its 90th day and the league has already cancelled games through Dec. 30 but no drop-dead date for getting a meaningful season in has been announced.