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Looks like the NHL lockout is over once & for all

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Thank God!


Back on ice: NHL and the union reach a deal in principle to end lockout

By IRA PODELL, AP Sports Writer

July 13, 2005


NEW YORK (AP) -- The NHL and the players' association reached an agreement in principle Wednesday on a new labor deal, ending a lockout that wiped out last season.


The sides met for 24 hours starting Tuesday afternoon to hammer out the collective bargaining agreement that will return the NHL to the ice. In February, commissioner Gary Bettman canceled the season, making the NHL the first North American sports league to lose a year because of a labor dispute.


Both sides still need to ratify the deal, which is expected to contain a salary cap. That process is expected to be completed next week, the league and the union said in a joint news release.


It took all night and then some for the final round of negotiations to produce an agreement.


The sides met for 10 straight days in New York, and it became clear Wednesday morning -- the 301st day of the lockout -- that they weren't going to leave the room without an agreement in hand.


The expected salary cap will likely have a ceiling approaching $40 million and a minimum somewhere between $20 million and $25 million.


Player salaries will not exceed 54 percent of league-wide revenues.


Some players in recent days have voiced their displeasure over what will be included in the new agreement.


Bettman warned in February when he canceled the season that the offers the union passed up were better than any it would see once a year of hockey was lost.


Just days before the season was wiped out, the players' association said for the first time it would accept a salary cap if the league dropped its desire to link player costs to revenues.


Bettman promised ``cost certainty'' in the form of a hard salary cap to the owners and he has gotten it.


The landscape of the NHL will be quite different than it was back in June 2004 when the Tampa Bay Lightning skated off with the Stanley Cup in the league's last game before the lockout.


Now when the league relaunches in the fall, it will do so with a brand new salary structure that keeps high-spending teams such as Toronto, Philadelphia and the New York Rangers in line.


The first order of business after the deal is ratified will be to get a majority of the players signed. The belief is that last season's contracts will be wiped from the books, leaving many players without deals.


Those who are still under contract will have their salaries reduced by 24 percent, a concept first proposed by the union last December.


There will also be several rules changes that could run the gamut from the size of goaltender equipment to the installation of a shootout to eliminate tie games.


A draft will also have to be held soon, replacing the June event that was the last casualty of the lockout.


Canadian phenom Sidney Crosby is the consensus choice to be the No. 1 pick. Where he goes will be determined by a draft lottery that will give each team an opportunity to snag him.



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How do we know this is for real??


We've all heard this SAME THING about a hundred times now and everytime it's turned out not to be true.


I'm not getting my hopes up, i'll believe it when I see it, .




Last time it happened, both sides immedietly denied the story. This time, no denials.



Also the fact that both held news conferences announcing it. :)

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