It took a long 16 hour negotiating session in New York yesterday, but the NHL and NHLPA hashed out an agreement in principle around 6 a.m. today.
The NHL did not announce the start date of the season or the number of games each team will play, but it is expected to be a 48 or 50 game season starting on either January 15 or January 19 with teams only playing within their respective conferences. The Bolts had January 15, 17 and 19 as scheduled home games, thus it is a good bet that they will open the season at the Forum.
The new CBA still has to be drafted and ratified by both sides. It is for ten years with an eight year opt-out.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have assigned 18 players to Syracuse (AHL) as they prepare for the pending lockout. All of these players did not have to clear waivers to be sent down.
The players that were assigned are: Forwards Brett Connolly, JT Brown, Cory Conacher, Danick Gauthier, Richard Panik, Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn, Vladislav Namestnikov, Ondrej Palat, Alex Hutchings, defensemen Mark Barberio, Radko Gudas, Dmitry Korobov, Charles Landry, Dan Milan and goalies Dustin Tokarski, Riku Helenius and Pat Nagle.
The players union seems steadfastly united as 250-300 members are expected to meet in New York, today and tomorrow. Lightning players planning on attending are Adam Hall, Nate Thompson, Mathieu Garon, BJ Crombeen, Brian Lee, Matt Carle and Marc-Andre Bergeron.
The NHL and the NHLPA have plans to meet this morning at 10:00 a.m. despite still remaining far apart. If the two sides don’t reach an agreement, the lockout will officially start at midnight on Sunday.
The Lightning players are preparing for a work stoppage. In that case, they will not be able to enter the Tampa Bay Times Forum or any other team facility.