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Fehr said anyone could argue that NHL has been on a similar path as the NBA, but basketball ensured the resumption of the season in time for Christmas Day a year ago.

“Right now it doesn’t look too good,” Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane said of losing this season. “Hopefully, they can put something together and try to get a season in.”

Even in hopes that the sides could bridge the gap and get a deal done, Timonen echoed Toews and Kane’s sentiment that “it doesn’t look very good” right now that there will be a season at all.

But not every player has that sense of doom, at least yet.

“My stance on it is that I’m trying to remain highly, highly optimistic right now,” Anaheim Ducks forward Bobby Ryan said. “And in the short period of time. It’s so hard to speak for it because things can change in a day.”

They can have a great meeting and then all of a sudden the optimism comes back and it’s strong.”

If this impasse lasts long enough to get the players and owners there, it wouldn’t be unfamiliar territory. But after the last lockout, the “new NHL” with Sidney Crosby, the shootout and rules to improve the game enticed fans to come back.

It stands to reason that might not happen this time around.

“When you cancel a whole month of games, it’s not a good sign for us, it’s not a good sign for the fans,” Timonen said. “I hope they have a big say and that they put a lot of pressure on us and the owners, saying that, ‘OK, we’re not coming to games if this is not done by whenever.’ … As a fan I would start looking for something else.”

Fehr and players are quick to point out that the lockout itself should have been a last resort instead of a negotiating tactic. The same goes for canceling games.

But an entire season would be another nuclear winter for the sport.

“I hope that it’s a worst-case scenario,” Ryan said. “And I highly hope we don’t get there.”