The NHL lockout is over.
Players and owners agreed just after 6 a.m. Sunday to new collective bargaining agreement that will allow for a 48- or 50-game season starting after a week-long training camp.
“Don Fehr and I are here to tell you that we have reached an agreement on the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement, the details of which need to be put to paper,” commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters in New York City early Sunday morning.
Reached via text message for a reaction, Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson said: “Ya I’m freakin pumped up.” His Twitter message minutes earlier said it all, too: “So I guess it’s time to jump on my bed again?”
Yes, it’s over.
“Huge thank you to all the players who put in countless hours during these negotiations!” Caps goaltender Braden Holtby wrote on Twitter.
“I’ve been dreaming of this day!!! #FINALLY” forward Matt Hendricks wrote.
“What a great way to wake up!” right wing Troy Brouwer wrote.
“Best day of my life! #theend” defenseman Mike Green wrote.
“A Big thanks to everyone who put in the time to get this deal done. Great news to wake up to. @NHLPA @NHL @washcaps #NHL #NHLLockout” forward Wojtej Wolski wrote.
The deal must still be ratified by the NHL Players’ Association and the NHL’s Board of Governors. It’s believed to be a 10-year agreement, like what the NBA signed over a year ago.
While Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr were brief in their comments Sunday morning, they promised more information once the process was completed. More details still needed to be worked out.
But one question sneaked through, and it was about the fans.
“Hopefully within just a very few days the fans can get back to watching people who are skating, not the two of us,” Fehr said.
“Absolutely,” he said.
According to multiple reports, the salary cap for the shortened 2013 season will technically be $60 million, though teams will be allowed to spend up to $70.2 million. The cap will go down to $64.3 million for 2013-14, and each team will be allowed to buy out two players to get in compliance.
Also according to reports, the draft lottery system will change to the NBA’s version, in which each of the 14 teams that don’t make the playoffs have a shot at getting the No. 1 pick.