Sunday, January 6, 2013

After Hundred-day (and 13 more) War, NHL reaches accord with players

Hey, the NHL is ready to play, and it only took 113 days to realize it.
The league's long, national nightmare - a lockout of its players that lasted 113 days and burned away more than half the season schedule plus two of its marquee, revenue producing events - finally came to an end about 5 o'clock this morning.
It was then after a negotiating session of some 16 hours that commissioner Gary Bettman and union chief Donald Fehr proclaimed a truce. A basic framework of a deal was agreed upon that should see the NHL play either a 48- or 50-game sprint of a season.
"We've got to dot a lot of Is and cross a lot of Ts," Bettman said. "There's still a lot of work to be done, but the basic details of the agreement have been agreed upon."
Other details are being worked out, owners and players have to be briefed and things are left to be agreed upon. But it should result in a semi-season that either begins Jan. 15 (for 50 games) or Jan. 19 (for 48).
As for the Flyers, players are already making plans to return to the area. A formal training camp could start as soon as Wednesday.
Players who were biding their time and trying to stay sharp by playing in Europe have travel details to work out, or injuries to mend. That would include Danny Briere, who is recovering from a wrist injury suffered while playing in Germany. His Berlin hockey partner, Claude Giroux, has been home for weeks after getting clocked in a game but claimed it did not result in a concussion.
Giroux should be ready for the start of this "training camp," while Briere will likely be ready shortly after the shortened season starts.
Flyers president Peter Luukko released a statement that essentially thanked the fans for their "tremendous patience and support during this process."
Apparently, Bettman's ongoing gag order rules prevent any team official from saying anything more, pending ratification votes.
General manager Paul Holmgren did offer this quick statement via a text: "Great to be back!!!"


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