After three-and-a-half months of negotiations, the National Hockey League and NHL Players’ Association have (as per Shawn P. Roarke of NHL.com) come to terms for a new collective bargaining agreement.
Commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters that while the framework of a deal is in place, many of the smaller details still need to be ironed out and then the whole thing must be ratified.
Crosby was ecstatic over this revelation and decided to e-mail Josh Yohe of the Tribune-Review to provide the journalist with a quip for his Twitter feed:
Crosby: "I'm really happy a deal has been reached. It's exciting to know we will be back playing hockey."— Josh Yohe (@JoshYohe_Trib) January 6, 2013
While the players won’t be back on the ice tomorrow, it’s a relief that there will be some semblance of a 2012-13 season—even if the 2012 part of that equation has been cut out.
It remains to be seen how much of the schedule the parties can salvage at the negotiating table, or when the games will be even start being played, but there’s finally a positive buzz surrounding the league.
Penguins fans and players should be especially excited about the lockout ending, as a shorter schedule is theoretically beneficial to their chances of winning during the regular season and Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The players should not struggle to adjust, as there were no major shakeups in the offseason—with the exception of a deal that sent Jordan Staal to the Carolina Hurricanes for Brandon Sutter, Brian Dumoulin and the No. 8 overall pick (Derrick Pouliot).
Sid the Kid has lost plenty of playing time over the past few years due to concussion symptoms and lockouts, but the 25-year-old is going to be leaned on heavily to guide his Penguins back to prominence once teams return to the ice.
If Crosby can stay healthy, play well and lift his teammates, the Penguins will be one of the premiere teams in the NHL this shortened season. He deserves to wear the C and will be the star to watch when Pittsburgh is back in action.