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Monday, January 7, 2013

NHL Lockout Finally Comes To An End

Sidney Crosby, of the Pittsburgh Penguins NHL hockey team, left, faces off with teammate Joe Vitale as they work out with other players on their own on Thursday, at the IceoPlex in Canonsburg, Pa.  (Keith Srakocic/AP)

Sidney Crosby, of the Pittsburgh Penguins NHL hockey team, left, faces off with teammate Joe Vitale as they work out with other players on their own on Thursday, at the IceoPlex in Canonsburg, Pa. (Keith Srakocic/AP)

After 16 hours of tense talks and a relentless push from a federal mediator, the National Hockey League and its players have finally reached a deal to end a lockout that’s wiped out nearly four months of the season.

The 10-year deal would see the players’ share of hockey-related income drop from 57 percent to a 50-50 split and a lowering of the salary cap. It still needs to be ratified by team owners and the players.

Fans are expressing relief that the lockout appears about to end, but also some bitterness. Paul Corrie of Manor, Pennsylvania, says he will be happy to see his beloved Penguins back on the ice, but he’ll be watching on TV.

Corrie says he won’t spend any money on tickets or NHL licensed merchandise, at least for this season. Though he adds his decision isn’t likely to have much impact with money issues seemingly as much a part of pro sports now as the games themselves.

Schedule issues still have to be worked out, but the NHL has developed plans for 50- and 48-game seasons.

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