I was wondering how many games roughly is left from the original 82 game schedule?
I've heard that a 30 game season is the bare minimum. And, lets say they could do 5 game series up to a 7 game stanley cup final. So, they'd save another 2 weeks from shorter playoffs, which would mean an extra 5/6 games. So, what date would most teams play their 26/27th game? Which would be the last possible day to start the season.
Add, one week for training camp, and 10 days for negociating and travel. It should give a pretty good idea of what Bettman thinks is the cutoff date.