NHL Lockout Resolved
B's to Return to Season This Weekend
Published: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Updated: Thursday, January 17, 2013 01:01
The National Hockey League (NHL) lockout of 2012-2013 officially ended last Saturday night, Jan. 12, as the players completed a new collective bargaining agreement by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the last step in the ratification process. The new 10-year collective bargaining agreement (CBA) includes stipulations regarding payroll range, salary arbitration, free agency, re-entry waivers, suspensions, drug testing, training camps, and entry drafts.
Hockey fans everywhere were looking forward to the start of the 2012-2013 NHL season on Oct. 11, but only a month before this exciting day in the hockey world, a labor dispute launched the lockout. The dispute between the members of the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) began after the owners of the NHL’s franchises, led by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, could not reach a new agreement before the deadline of the league’s CBA. This player lockout was the third in the 19 years since Bettman became commissioner in 1993, and follows the lockouts of 1994-95 and 2004-05.
All games scheduled for the 2012-2013 season up to Jan. 14 were cancelled, which accounted for 625 regular season games, or just over half of the season. Fan-favorite events like the NHL Winter Classic, scheduled for Jan. 1 as a match between the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs, as well as the 2013 NHL All-Star Game, scheduled for Jan. 27, were cancelled. For the duration of the 113-day lockout, many NHL players joined other leagues in North America and Europe.
After both sides agreed to the required MOU, the NHL released a revised schedule outlining each team’s 48-game regular season, which is to begin this Saturday. Of the 30 teams in the league, 26 of them will play on opening day. In total, 720 games will be played during the 99-day regular season, with playoffs beginning on April 30, and the Stanley Cup finals ending no later than June 28.
For Beantown, the end of the lockout means the long-awaited return of the Boston Bruins, who began training camp last Sunday afternoon at TD Garden. Before the official end of the lockout, players ran practices at Boston University’s Agganis Arena, as well as at the usual practice facility, Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, Mass. For the duration of the lockout, several Bruins players joined leagues abroad to keep up their skills and stay in the game. With 11 players in Europe, the Bruins had more players overseas than any other club in the league. Goaltenders Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin, both replacing goalie Tim Thomas as he sits out this season, were among the Bruins who played during the lockout—Rask played for the Czech Extraliga and Khudobin joined the KHL’s HC Atlant Moscow Oblast team. Linemates Tyler Seguin and Patrice Bergeron played in Switzerland, though for different teams. Defensemen Dennis Seidenberg and Johnny Boychuk played for the German League and Austrian League, respectively.
The Bruins face the abbreviated season with mostly the same team as last year, including many of the players who led the team to Stanley Cup victory in 2011. At the first official post-lockout practice on Sunday at the TD Garden, the new faces of the Bruins were seen out on the ice. The Bruins also happily welcome the return of right winger Nathan Horton, who suffered a concussion after an open-ice hit to the head in a game against the Philadelphia Flyers last January.
The Bruins will host the New York Rangers in their home opener at the TD Garden this Saturday, Jan. 19, at 7:00 p.m.