The NHL will most likely play a 48-game season after its new labor agreement is ratified.
Deputy commissioner Bill Daly tells The Canadian Press today it's looking "more and more" that 48 will be the maximum number of games. There had been some hope when the tentative deal was reached Sunday morning that a 50-game season might be possible.
The sides are working on a memorandum of understanding that will be put to a vote.
The league has circulated a memo to teams telling them to be ready to play by Jan. 19. That is the date the shortened season is most likely to start.
In Columbus, a dozen or so Blue Jackets players went through a light workout today, their first unofficial meeting since the league and players' union reached a tentative agreement.
All said they were pleased just to get back to work.
Forward R.J. Umberger, who spent his idle time as a volunteer coach with his former college team at Ohio State, helped organize things. Veteran defenseman James Wisniewski worked up a sweat along with team newcomers Nick Foligno, a left wing, and Adrian Aucoin, a defenseman. Toronto Maple Leafs center Dave Steckel joined them.
Several Blue Jackets are still overseas.