Mirtle says it best here:
If at the end of the season that's the chunk that's missing on a $56.7-million salary cap, it means teams are actually paying only $49-million in player salaries. A $7-million player like Thomas Vanek will make only $6-million this season, Sidney Crosby's $8.7-million deal is worth $7.5-million and the league minimum players fall from $475,000 to $411,000.
No, no one will be crying poor, but that's the difference we're talking about, and that's also likely the ballpark we should be thinking about (a) potential free agent salaries and (b) next year's cap.
But hey, at least attendance is rising... right?
I think this is an indication that, although Bettman has said in earlier reports the economy hasn't really had a hard hit on the sport thus far, that hammer will come down soon enough. We will all soon find out.