NHL says 48-game regular season is 'most likely'

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 7, 2013 at 6:41 pm •  Published: January 7, 2013
Advertisement
;

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.

This was the third lockout among the major U.S. sports in a period of just over a year. A four-month NFL lockout ended in July 2011 with the loss of only one exhibition game, and an NBA lockout caused each team's schedule to be cut from 82 games to 66 last season.

___

AP Sports Writers Ira Podell and Ronald Blum in New York and Will Graves in Pittsburgh contributed to this report.

___

Follow Larry Lage on Twitter: http://twitter.com/larrylage