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The NHL lockout is over, hockey is back

Posted Jan 6, 2013 by Erik Erlendsson

Updated Jan 6, 2013 at 08:11 AM

After nearly four months, the key to breaking the NHL lockout came in the wee hours of the morning.

Just before 6 a.m. Sunday word began to emerge that following a marathon 16-hour bargaining session in New York a tentative deal between the NHL and NHL Player’s Association has been reached that will salvage a shortened season.

“We have reached an agreement of a framework on a new CBA,’’ NHL commissioner told reporters in the lobby of a New York hotel around 5:45 a.m. “There is still a lot of work to be done but the framework is complete.’’

Many have cited the work of Federal mediator Scot Beckenbaugh for helping forge the deal. Beckenbaugh spent a good portion of Friday shuttling back and forth between the league offices and the NHLPA hotel attempting to broker a deal.

“I want to recognize the extraordinary contribution that my colleague, Scot Beckenbaugh, Deputy Director for Mediation Services, made in providing assistance of the highest caliber to the parties throughout the most critical periods in the negotiations,’’ Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Director George H. Cohen said in a statement.

While there is no immediate word on when the season would begin – an announcement is expected in the coming days – abbreviated training camps are expected to open at some point later this week. When the schedule is announced will depend on how quickly the language for the new deal can put into writing and the new deal is put forth for ratification by both the NHL and NHLPA.

It is expected that the shortened season will consist of either 50 or 48 games, all conference based. Bettman said that information should be available either later on Sunday or early Monday.

Various reports indicate the new collective bargaining agreement is 10 years with an opt-out option after eight years. The salary cap for the 2013-14 season – a big sticking point throughout the negotiations – is reported to be set at $64.3 million with a salary floor of $44 million. In order to help teams get down to that number, two compliance buyout options will be available to teams in order to get out from big money contracts. Those buyouts will not count against a team’s salary cap but will come out of the player’s share of hockey related revenue.

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