As NHL teams begin publicizing their 2012 lockout plans for their work force — from the Washington Capitals' no pay-cuts or layoffs, to the Florida Panthers and Ottawa Senators cutting staff — the League's office staffers and executives were told on Wednesday morning how their status will be affected in the work stoppage.

According to sources who attended the meeting, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman informed NHL staff that they'll work four days a week and that their pay will be cut by 20 percent, beginning on Oct. 1.

There would be no layoffs initially for the NHL in the early stages of the lockout. In fact this pay cut was positioned as a way to potentially avoid them later on.

But Bettman reportedly wouldn't guarantee that staffing levels would be unaffected by a prolonged work stoppage.

(Incidentally, Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly will not take a salary during the lockout.)

This is, shall we say, slightly better news that the League's staffer received in Sept. 2004, when 50 percent of those who worked in the League's offices in New York, Toronto and Montreal were laid off. While optimism is in short order for those whose livelihoods are affected by this squabble between millionaires and billionaires, at least we've got that.

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