The Norman Transcript

National Sports

January 8, 2013

NHL putting finishing touches on deal

(Continued)

NORMAN —

“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, who played for his hometown Dynamo Moscow in the Kontinental Hockey League, was welcomed back to Washington by the Capitals, who posted a picture of him on their Twitter account arriving at a local airport.

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.

Penguins star Sidney Crosby and nearly a dozen teammates worked out at a suburban Pittsburgh ice rink Monday.

For a change, Crosby and the rest of the NHL players knew games will be played after negotiators for both sides — and an outside mediator — found a way to revive a sport desperate to regain momentum and boost its prominence.

The league and the union agreed to the framework of a 10-year labor contract, ending a bitter dispute that wiped out a large part of the hockey season for the third time in less than two decades. On the 113th day of the lockout and five days before the league’s deadline for a deal, the bleary-eyed sides held a 6 a.m. Sunday news conference to announce there would be a season after all.

The lockout could wipe out perhaps $1 billion in revenue this season because about 40 percent of the regular-season schedule won’t be played.

The NHL’s revenue of $3.3 billion last season lagged well behind the NFL ($9 billion), Major League Baseball ($7.5 billion) and the NBA ($5 billion). The new deal will lower the players’ percentage from 57 to 50 after owners originally had proposed the players get 46 percent.

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