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.
"That's a noise," grinned the Grinch, "That I simply must hear!" So he paused. And the Grinch put a hand to his ear. And he did hear a sound rising over the snow. It started in low. Then it started to grow...
But the sound wasn't sad! Why, this sound sounded merry! It couldn't be so!
At this very moment, the ice of the outdoor rink is glimmering in the sunlight in anticipation of its annual Winter Classic that will take place this evening. Gary Bettman and the National Hockey League may have canceled the NHL Winter Classic that was to be played between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings, but that's not stopping a talented group of hockey players from getting together for the annual Danglers Winter Classic.
The Danglers are a men's league hockey team that I started years ago in order to keep my friends and I together on the ice. High school was over, and many of us were going away to college or starting to work full-time. Every summer, the Danglers were put together through the Midnight Hockey League on Long Island and have continued to go strong for five years.
There might not be any NHL hockey to watch this season, but the Islanders have some young and talented skaters that are developing nicely with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.; Brock Nelson is one of them.
Nelson was selected by the Islanders 30th overall in the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and spent two years playing with the University of North Dakota. In his sophomore season, Nelson scored 47 points in 42 games, earning him a brief stint with the Sound Tigers at the end of the 2012 season.
He did not put up any points in the four games he dressed in for the Sound Tigers. This year, however, has been an entirely different story.
For one night, normalcy was restored in the hockey world.
As the "Fire Bettman" and "We want hockey" chants rained down to the Art Dorrington Ice Rink on Saturday evening at the Boardwalk Hall, people got a sense that this lockout just has to end.
For one night, Flyers, Rangers, Devils and even a few Penguins and Islanders fans were united with a select handful of other fans in Atlantic City's historic Boardwalk Hall. They were there for Operation Hat Trick, a charity game featuring 90% of the Atlantic Division's current and former star players, all still active in the NHL.
In all, 10,792 fans showed up, selling out the venue. It was the first sellout for a hockey event in Atlantic City since 1933.
For many of you, the NHL lockout has left a major void in our lives. The NHL Network plays old games here and there, but we already know the outcome. It's just not the same. We yearn for fresh ice, new plays and flashy highlights that keep our love for the game as strong as it's ever been. (Photo Credit: IslesPunkFan/Flickr)
But the NHL lockout is testing us.
Some fans can turn to football. It's an aggressive sport, like hockey, and one that is loved by the majority of Americans.
But I'm not the biggest football fan. I'll turn a game on here or there, but do I really want to replace dropping the gloves and thrilling OT wins with this?
Another Tampa Bay Lightning player has signed a lockout contract with an ECHL team. Forward BJ Crombeen will play for the Orlando Solar Bears, presumably making his debut on Saturday night at the Amway Center in Orlando. Crombeen has practiced with the Minnesota Wild affiliate.
Crombeen is a member of the NHLPA negotiating committee. (Photograph/Linda Hamilton)
The veteran right wing joins Bolts forward Nate Thompson as the second player to sign with an ECHL team. Thompson is playing with the Alaska Aces.
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After a rookie season that no one expected from an Islanders top prospect, Nino Niederreiter is finally getting the development he has needed in the professional ranks of hockey. (Photo Credit: MVerminski/Flickr)
After being a 40-goal scorer in the WHL, Nino became a fourth liner that saw very limited ice time that only resulted in one goal in 55 games played in the NHL. He saw injuries and even some healthy time spent in the press-box as a scratch, and was often playing with veteran penalty killer Jay Pandolfo, and career AHL'er Tim Wallace.
It seemed as if the big power-forward was potentially turning into a big bust.