A shortened season offers different dynamics than a regular regular season. Instead of a marathon, it is almost like a sprint to the playoffs. And the only real key is to make sure you make it. That has become true every year, but will be especially more-so in 2013. It really does not matter where you place, as long as you do. If Edmonton tops the Western Conference and Vancouver squeaks in, I will not read too much into either result. Once the post-season is reached, everything is pretty much back to normal.
Take the 1995 Stanley Cup champion New Jersey Devils as the perfect example. 1995, as hockey fans of a certain vintage all know, was almost a mirrored precedent for what we are about to witness. Lockout until early January followed by 48 game season.
In that season the New Jersey Devils won the Stanley Cup. I do not think in any way whatsoever that there is any need for an asterisk on the championship. The Devils had to earn the Stanley Cup under the exact same pretences as anyone else in the current era - namely 4 rounds, 3 months, 16 wins. The fact that there was a shortened regular season is pretty inconsequential - especially if you are a New Jersey fan.
History's eyes will not look upon the 2013 Stanley Cup champion in any different light just because there was a shortened season.