Looks like we are going to be getting a shortened 2012-13 season, as happy as I am that we are going to be getting a season I have a feeling that cramming in 7 games in 14 days until the Stanley Cup is awarded is going to have a few players breaking down. We could basically see the Cup awarded to the team with the most players active, not the best 'team' available.
The cost of this lockout has been immense, people are forgetting the phsycial cost the players are about to go through. Even though there were around 200 players who played some hockey overseas during the lockout there have been more than 60% of the NHLPA who have not been playing for one reason or another. This shortened season is going to effect both groups a little differently.
This whole schedule is going to be like a stretch run, teams know that a losing streak of 3-7 games could end their chance of making the playoffs so expect the intensity and physicalitly of the games to be almost playoff like right from the start. Due to this I am expecting the percentage of games lost this year due to injury to be higher than last year. I also think it will be soft tissue injuries that do the players in, dont get me wrong there are still going to be the structural injuries from bad collisions, but it will be the limited recovery time that will see the soft tissue injuries go up.
The games lost league wide in 2011-12 was 6751, this happened over 2460 regular season games, or 2.74 games lost to injury for every regular season game. I expect the per game total to be lower for this season, the percentage of the year lost to be higher. A 3 month knee injury to a player will have basically 100% of this season lost to him, but will 'only' cost 48 games. So at the end of the year I will look back and see what the totals are to see where the players ended up.
Players who are going to be missing right off the bat, Kesler, Cowan, Mezaros, Murray, Bogosian, Kopitar, Lilja, Volchenkov, and these are the big names who are missing, the ones I can think of off the top of my head, not the role players who are missing too. Plus Cowan and Murray look like they are done for the year anyway with their labrum issues, Kesler looks like he is behind schedule with his shoulder recovery, Mezaros and Lilja are recovering from injuries that will probably have them hurting another body part to compensate for returning too early.
It makes things difficult this shortened season, some have played away and others have been working out in North America, who knows what is going to work for either group, all I know is the players are going to pay the price phsyically for this shortened year and it will be the end for some.