It looks like they're going to anyway, but the NHL simply can't do this
. Hockey's place in American sports is not so secure that they can expect fans to put up with a cancelled season in which the two sides hardly even negotiated. The main challenge during the past decade has been how to expand the fan base, and now they seem intent on whittling it down to a core of addicts. A lot of Americans who are otherwise sports fans don't know the names of NHL franchises. That number will grow once they've had a year of not hearing about them.
On a slightly different note, am I the only one amused that even though the proposed NHL season is for 28 games, they're keeping the full play-off structure? Is there any precedent for a post-season that's as long as the regular season?