This is the third lockout for Commissioner Gary Bettman. The first, in 1994-95, resulted in a shortened, 48-game season. The second, in 2004-05, saw the whole year wiped out.
This time, Pat LaFontaine hopes the NHL has learned enough to know that some games are better than none.
LaFontaine, in Buffalo to participate in a Sabres Alumni Association fundraiser Wednesday night, foresees at least some hockey in 2012-13. He played for the Sabres during Bettman's first lockout and can imagine a similar scenario.
"They’ve obviously done this before," LaFontaine said. "They’ve obviously lost a season before. But I’m fairly optimistic you’ll see some kind of agreement by Dec. 1. I believe that. I feel real strongly that knowing what it was like to lose a season, knowing what it was like to gain a half-season, they’ve been through both sides and know the importance of needing to have at least a half-season or more.
"I’m fairly optimistic that we’ll see hockey. I hope before Christmas, but I think worst-case scenario – I’m an optimistic person – I see at least a half a season."