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Is the NHL's Season Too Long?

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With the continued dearth of news (evidently a '30 day exclusivity period' means 'however the heck long we feel like') sucking the life force out of online Dallas Stars communities that would really, really like to be discussing this team in any form or fashion, we must turn our attentions elsewhere and someone with the Dallas Stars' organization got me thinking last night on Twitter. So here is a Saturday morning conversation starter, as it were.

@Rob Scichili, Aggie-fan extraordinaire and director of PR for the Dallas Stars had some interesting thoughts last night when presented with the fact that the NBA Finals start before the Stanley Cup Finals. Mainly: Is the NHL schedule too long if the NBA can do the same thing in a month's less time?

Hockey fans have wondered for years and years why these events need take place at the same time at all, and why one does not simply start their season even later (or earlier, I suppose) to avoid the overlap, but that's a situation for another time and one that television money will probably never allow much in the way of change.

Regular Season Length 186 days 170 days
Average # b2b's 15.8 20.0
Season Start Date 10/6/2010 10/26/2010
Final Start Date 6/1/2011 5/31/2011

The argument of length in terms of days aside, what about the number of games? Some argue that 72 or 74 games might be a more appropriate regular season and one that is more agreeable to players, many of whom have international obligations they'd like to meet (World's, Olympics, etc...) For years some have wondered if a more event-based schedule would work, like what they have in the AHL. Home stands all on the weekends. "Series" with a given team (i.e. Sharks in town for two games on a weekend, etc). Could fewer games work in a league that still depends so heavily on the gate (though, it's national tv contract just got a lot better...) for it's financial compensation?

Historically, as someone who is also a Mavericks fan, I have looked at it the other way. Why does the NBA shove 82 games into three fewer weeks? Why did some teams have to play 23 back to backs in the NBA? The frequency of "four games in five nights" in that league produces situations that are seemingly "scheduled losses" far too often, and the quality of play suffers dramatically, even if the popularity of the sport shields any effects.

There's been talk recently about realigning the divisions not only to accommodate any potential move to Winnipeg, but also just to reduce travel to the absolute minimum to keep costs down. With so many teams losing money these days, is an altered schedule structure, one way or another, that crazy to ponder as the CBA expires next year?

What do you think? Is the NHL's season too long or is the NBA's just too short?

(As fans who haven't seen a Stars hockey game in two months, I'm betting I can guess your knee-jerk reaction to that question...)