The NHL appears headed toward a 48-game season for the second time in two decades.
"I think 48 is most likely at this point, unless the players can expedite their ratification process," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly wrote in an email Monday to The Associated Press.
The NHL shortened its 82-game slate to 48 games during the 1994-95 season after a 103-day lockout. A 301-day lockout in 2004-05 made the NHL the first major North American professional sports league to lose an entire season.
When the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement was agreed to Sunday morning — after 16 hours of negotiations — there was some talk of having a 50-game season start later this month.
The NHL and the players' association are working on a memorandum of understanding, which could be completed soon then voted on by team owners and players. The league has circulated a memo to teams telling them to be ready to play by Jan. 19, the date the shortened season is expected to start.
"As we prepare for the season opener, I want to apologize to all Blues fans, especially our season ticket holders, suite holders, and sponsors," St. Louis Blues owner Tom Stillman said in a statement released by the team. "We share in your disappointment and frustration about the lockout."
Los Angeles Kings forward Kevin Westgarth, who was a part of the union negotiating team for much of the more than 100-day lockout, expects the NHLPA to conduct a conference call to explain and answer questions about the new CBA before players vote on it online.
"Of course the league will say if the players hurry up, we can play more games, but there's a reality to consider as well," Westgarth said in a telephone interview Monday from Raleigh, N.C., where he skated informally with some Carolina Hurricanes. "But the first step is for the people who are good with words to get on paper what both sides agreed to.
"Then, we have to get guys — who are scattered all over the world — to understand the agreement before we can start voting."
Some NHL players — including Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin — went overseas during the lockout. Ovechkin has been playing for his hometown Dynamo Moscow in the Kontinental Hockey League, but plans to be back in the United States soon.
"Alex is returning early this week," Ovechkin's IMG agent, David Abrutyn, told AP.
Players — teammates and opponents — who stayed in North America have been getting together for months to skate, conduct on-ice drills and work out on their own to stay in relatively good shape.
- Local News
Students challenge community, leaders to ‘stop the violence’
“Keep calm and stop the violence,” “Save our streets” and “No more violence” were the words echoed by Eighth Street Middle School students early Tuesday morning as they stood in front of the school behind caution tape and orange cones, shouting and holding up signs as they waved at passing motorists who smiled and returned the gesture.Continued ...
- Concert in the Park: Austin Kilby to headline concert Friday
- Tifton man arrested in marijuana sting
- Elderly woman attacked in her residence
- Northside kicks off Olympic Field Games
- Students challenge community, leaders to ‘stop the violence’
- Local Sports
Alex Abbott belts a three-run homer in the second inning of a 13-3 Tift rout over Berrien.
Two from Tift named 1st team All-Region
The Tift County Blue Devils, who were only just barely eliminated in the state quarterfinals, placed two players on the All-Region team for 1-AAAAAA. The region, which sent three teams to the elite eight in the state tournament, named Lowndes’ Danny Redshaw Coach of the Year.
- Battle for state golf title held at Spring Hill
- Spurlin snags state title
- Tift County High has summer basketball camp
- Spring game goes well for Devils
- Two from Tift named 1st team All-Region
Embrace glorious stories with a visit to LaGrange, Ga.
Guess who cooked my lunch on a jaunt to LaGrange, Georgia? The great-great grandson of the legendary town philanthropist, that’s who.
- Explore the edges Mississippi Gulf Coast
- St. Augustine: Abounding with excellence suiting every taste
- Embrace glorious stories with a visit to LaGrange, Ga.
- Police Reports
- Your Agenda