While it may be just under eight months away, the deadline for a new collective bargaining agreement looms.
And after watching both the NFL and NBA labour disputes last season, the NHL is hoping to learn from those negotiations and get a deal done before their current CBA expires on September 15.
However, the two sides have yet to start negotiating themselves, something NHL commissioner Gary Bettman attributes to NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr's need to gather information from the players about what they want out of the deal.
“Anything we have to say about collective bargaining - the system, the agreement - we'll do it with the players association quietly,” Bettman told reporters at Wednesday night's game between the Anaheim Ducks and the Phoenix Coyotes.
“The fact is, we're having another terrific season; this will be another record-breaking season for us, both in terms of revenues and attendance and I don't see any reasons for anybody to be distracted by collective bargaining, certainly not now.
Bettman also spoke about the current state of the Phoenix Coyotes, who are being run by the league along with the support of the Glendale City Council. Bettman stated that "nothing is imminent" when it comes to Phoenix.
“At some point, if we can't get it resolved for next season, we'll have to consider our alternatives - but that's not new news,” said Bettman.
On a more positive note, Bettman praised the work of new director of player safety Brendan Shanahan.
“This job is everything he expected - and more. But I also think the players are hearing him. I think particularly with the videos, there's greater clarity as to what is expected on the ice and what won't be tolerated,” explained Bettman.
The NHL commissioner also admitted that the job has taken its toll on Shanahan.
"He aged probably five years in the last five months," said Bettman. “This is a hard, hard job that he has. The decisions are hard and nobody's ever happy.”