The Players Association voting process began on Thursday night, and should be wrapped up no later than Saturday morning.
As has been the case each day since Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr first announced they had reached a tentative agreement, today brings us one step closer to having NHL hockey return. The last major hurdle to be cleared is the ratification process by the Players' Association, and their vote will be completed by Saturday morning at the latest.
Although I can't imagine that there will be too much opposition to this agreement (except for those players who want to stay in the KHL), this vote requires a majority of the 700+ players in the league to approve the new CBA. With that many voters, it explains why the PA needed a day or so to call up their players and agents, and give them the details on what the new agreement looks like, and what it means for them.
If a majority of the more than 700 players choose to accept the deal that NHL owners unanimously ratified on Wednesday, training camps will open Sunday, and a 48-game regular season will begin Jan. 19.
A tentative agreement was reached early Sunday, the 113th day of the lockout, after a 16-hour negotiating session in New York.
A memorandum of understanding that has been in the drafting process by the two sides this week must be signed before training camps open.
The players' association wanted as much of the document as possible to be completed before voting began.
Leading up to Thursday's start time for voting, the union has been busy calling players and agents to educate them about the changes and additions to the tentative agreement.
Assuming the deal is approved by the players, as expected, there will be only six days between the opening of camps and the start of the season. No preseason games will be played.
Once the agreement is ratified by the players, the season schedule will be released to the public, and we will finally know for sure who we play on opening night. Also, we will finally have an opening night.
Coming up in the links: Jaromir Jagr is officially in Dallas, other NHL teams announce plans for bringing back the fans, and more winners and losers of the lockout.
- Now that the NHL Owners have completed their ratification process, a number of teams have begun to announce special deals and offers in order to win fans over. While this is a somewhat cynical view of it, Sean Gentille has it exactly right -- the deals are there in order to get fans to spend money again. [Sporting News]
- Now that things have settled down since the firing, here's a great look at what happened with Brian Burke. You might see some similarities between him and our own GM, but there are some glaring differences too. [Grantland]
- Alex Ovechkin always seems to be in the strangest commercials. First a laughing disembodied head, and now this? [Puck Daddy]
- Sarah Kwak breaks down the Central Division and how things might play out as the season progresses. Outside of our own games, I'm actually interested in the drama of the Central more than any other division. Maybe it's because I live near Nashville, or maybe it's because Ken Hitchcock is involved. Most likely, though, it's because I am tired of acknowledging that we're still stuck in the Pacific. [Sports Illustrated]
- Todd Maternowski breaks down the team winners and losers of the NHL Lockout, and it's worth the read. (Bonus: Make sure you at least take a look at the picture of Jaromir Jagr) [Thursday Morning Cup Check]
- Speaking of Jagr, the legend himself will be skating with the team today. Here's a friendly reminder that all practices are open to the public, if you want to see him on ice. [Stars Inside Edge]
- Believe it or not, this marks the 20th season that the Stars have been in Dallas. It seems like only yesterday there was a giant 'X' on the ice to celebrate the 10 year anniversary. But I guess that was actually 10 years and 2 lockouts ago. At any rate, here's a picture of the new shoulder patches for the team. I really, really like them. [Fan Sided]
- Mark Stepneski caught up with Ray Whitney the other day, and got his opinions on the upcoming season. Personally, I like his solution for solving the power play issues the best. [Stars Inside Edge]
- There were some concerns voiced on the radio yesterday about the new team not being tough enough. That ultimately led me to featuring this as the video of the day: The classic NYE brawl between the Dallas Stars and the Chicago Blackhawks