4-6-13 Preds vs Blackhawks, 1-0 Blackhawks

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The Chicago Blackhawks have plenty of offense.  With the regular season starting to wind down, they’re providing a strong reminder that they can play pretty stingy defense, too.

Bryan Bickell scored in the first period, and Ray Emery made 20 saves and the Blackhawks beat the Nashville Predators 1-0 Saturday for their third win in four games.

Chicago improved to 12-0-1 against the Central Division this season and moved closer to clinching the playoff berth.

The Blackhawks won their third against Nashville this season and second in six days. They’ll have a chance at their third in a week Sunday night in Chicago as these teams wrap up a back-to-back.

Emery posted his second shutout and the 13th of his career, and Chicago improved to 16-3-4 in one-goal games this season. Chicago coach Joel Quenneville called Emery rock solid in doing what he had to do for the shutout.

Chicago came in needing just four points to clinch that playoff berth. Now Blackhawks could clinch before taking the ice Sunday with losses by a couple other teams.

With the afternoon faceoff, enough of the Blackhawks’ faithful got a flight to Nashville to make it feel like the United Center chanting, “Let’s go Hawks” even before the puck dropped. The arena was packed with 17,256 fans in attendance in a building whose capacity is listed at 17,113.

The Predators are the Western Conference’s only team to reach the semifinals each of the past two seasons but desperately needed a win with only nine games left.

Instead, Nashville lost its second straight and fourth in five games playing Saturday without center Paul Gaustad, whose upper body injury will keep him out at least a couple more games along with left wing Gabriel Bourque and forward Colin Wilson, who’s been out since March 9.

They had their chances in the third with a double minor when Daniel Carcillo high-sticked Nashville captain Shea Weber, nicking the defenseman’s nose and drawing blood at 7:58 of the third.

But the Blackhawks improved to 16 of their past 16 penalty kills. Patric Hornqvist poked away a would-be empty netter by Chicago right wing Michael Frolik with 1:30 left as he slid into the goal post knocking it off its moorings.

Nashville took its timeout only to see Emery stop several chances including a wraparound pass from Taylor Beck to Hornqvist. Brandon Yip was just wide of the net before the final horn.

Predators goalie Pekka Rinne called it a tough loss.  The Blackhawks jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Michal Handzus found Bickell on a cross-ice pass that Bickell one-timed past Rinne catching the Nashville goalie out of position at 5:31 of the first period. Trotz wasn’t happy with defenseman Jonathan Blum’s play on the 2-on-1.

Bickell credited Marcus Kruger with starting the play for Chicago, and the result gave him plenty of space to shoot.

Chicago outshot Nashville 10-2 with one of the Predators’ rare chances broken up when Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook hooked Nick Spaling on a breakaway chance.

Nashville managed a late flurry, but Emery had a kick save on a Weber shot with 1:05 left in the first.

In the second, Emery stopped David Legwand from in front, got help when a Chicago forward tripped Matt Halischuk at the crease and then the goalie made a stop on Spaling as the Predators spent more time in the offensive zone.

Notes: Patrick Kane gave Chicago fans a bit of a scare early in the second when he appeared to catch an edge and his knees smashed into the goal post. He skated slowly to the bench before returning. … Nashville defenseman Hal Gill turned 38 Saturday, and he’s the only player over 37 to play for the Predators. He’s 18th among active players, having played 1,093 games.

Three star selections
1st: BRYAN BICKELL
2nd: PEKKA RINNE
3rd: RAY EMERY

Winning Goaltender
Ray Emery

Losing Goaltender
Pekka Rinne

GAME HIGHLIGHTS:

http://nhl.cdn.neulion.net/u/videocenter/flex/images/evp.swf

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3-9-13 Preds vs Wild, 2-1 Wild in Shoot Out

Definitely not as much fun as last night!

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – That famed southern hospitality didn’t extend to Ryan Suter in his return to Nashville.

Matt Cullen scored the shootout-winning goal to give the Minnesota Wild a 2-1 victory over the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.
The Wild, who have won two of three, sent Nashville to its fourth loss in five games.

Cullen and Wild captain Mikko Koivu both scored in the shootout. Craig Smith was the only Nashville shooter to score in the tiebreaker against Niklas Backstrom.

The Wild are 3-1 in shootouts this season.

Zach Parise gave the Wild a 1-0 lead in the second period. David Legwand tied it for Nashville in the third.

Parise gave Minnesota its 1-0 lead at 9:01 of the second with a power-play goal.
Suter, a former top-paring defenseman with the Predators, sent a shot toward the Nashville net from the middle of the blue line. Standing just to the left of goalie Pekka Rinne and with his stick about waist high, Parise got enough of the puck to tip it over Rinne’s glove for his ninth goal.

Minnesota has scored a power-play goal in three consecutive games for the first time this season.

The visit by the Wild was Suter’s first return to Nashville since leaving the Predators. Suter played his first seven NHL seasons with Nashville, the team that chose him with the No. 7 pick in the 2003 draft.

Suter and Parise signed identical 13-year, $98 million contracts with Minnesota on July 4.

The Nashville fans showered Suter with boos each time he stepped onto the ice.
“I was just trying to get through it, trying to block it out,” he said.  “It is not fun being booed, but it is part of it. They went the while game, too, that kind of surprised me. They will probably have some sore throats tomorrow.”

Nashville managed to earn a point in this game after Legwand tied it with a power-play goal at 6:28 of the third.

With Suter serving a roughing penalty, Predators captain Shea Weber sent a pass to Sergei Kostitsyn on the left side. Kostitsyn then slid a cross-ice pass to Legwand for a shot that sailed over Backstrom’s glove.

Backstrom made 24 saves through overtime. Rinne stopped 28 shots before the
shootout.

Nashville fell to 2-5 in shootouts this season.

For the second time in two nights, the Predators sustained an injury to a forward. This time it was leading scorer Colin Wilson.

Early in the second period, Wilson was checked hard into the end boards in the Minnesota zone by defenseman Justin Falk. Wilson left the game and didn’t return because of an upper body injury.

Wilson leads the Predators with seven goals and 12 assists. Trotz said there wouldn’t be an update on Wilson’s condition until Monday.

On Friday, the Predators lost forward Patric Hornqvist to an upper body injury. There is no timetable for his return. Hornqvist led the Predators in goals in two of the previous three seasons.

NOTES: Minnesota RW Cal Clutterbuck returned to the lineup after missing six games because of a lower body injury. … Suter has a six-game point streak. … Weber has five assists in three games.

Three star selections
1st:   NIKLAS BACKSTROM
2nd:   DAVID LEGWAND
3rd:   ZACH PARISE
Winning Goaltender
Niklas Backstrom
Losing Goaltender
Pekka Rinne

GAME HIGHLIGHTS:

http://nhl.cdn.neulion.net/u/videocenter-v1/embed.swf

3-8-13 Preds vs Oilers, 6-0 Preds

What a fun night this turned out to be, after some of the losses the Preds have been enduring recently.

NASHVILLE — The Nashville Predators were battling a near-historic futility in terms of scoring entering their game on Friday. Earlier in the week, general manager David Poile made two waiver claims and called up a defenseman to shake up his team.

The moves worked almost as if scripted, with one of those claimed forwards, Zach Boychuk, registering a goal and the other, Bobby Butler, drawing three penalties in their respective debuts for Nashville, which beat Edmonton 6-0 at Bridgestone Arena.

Colin Wilson had two goals, giving him a team-leading seven, and two assists, Shea Weber had three assists while Pekka Rinne made 24 saves for his League-leading fourth shutout.

The only bad news for Nashville was that Patric Hornqvistleft the game with about 16 minutes left in the second period clutching his shoulder and did not return. Trotz ruled Hornqvist out for Saturday’s home game against Minnesota and said Hornqvist would need to be evaluated.

Edmonton’s Theo Peckham rode him into the boards and Hornqvist, who scored the game-winning goal on Friday, appeared to jam his shoulder as he reached out his arm to brace himself against the glass.

With all of its scoring woes, Nashville could ill afford to lose Hornqvist, who scored twice in his last five games and has led the team in goals in two of the previous three seasons.

The game was only the second in Nashville’s last seven in which the Predators scored more than one goal. They entered the night averaging fewer than two goals per game, putting them on pace to be the League’s second-lowest scoring team in the last 63 years. Nashville was 1-5-0 in those previous six.

Nashville got off to a fast start, picking up a power-play goal by Hornqvist at 6:07 of the first period, as he swatted in a puck from close range. The goal was Hornqvist’s third, assisted by Wilson and Mike Fisher. Butler, making his debut for the Predators, earned the power play when he drew a slashing call from Nick Schultz at 4:52; he later used his speed to draw a tripping call on Ryan Whitney at 10:23 of the second period and also drew a roughing call on Ryan Jones.

Seconds before Hornqvist’s goal, Rinne kept the game scoreless when he stopped Jones on a shorthanded breakaway. Jones went in alone when Nashville’s Sergei Kostitsyn, manning the point, fell down.

David Legwand sent Nashville into intermission up 2-0 when he scored the flukiest of goals. From behind the red line, he flipped the puck on net as if for a line change. The puck bounced toward the net toward Edmonton goalie Devan Dubnyk. He stabbed at it with his catching glove, but it dipped under his arm and went into the net with 69 seconds left in the period.

Yann Danis started the second period in goal for Edmonton in place of Dubnyk. On the first shift of the period, Rich Clune greeted him by converting a feed from Paul Gaustad at close range.

Boychuk’s goal came at 18:22 of the second, as he deftly deflected Weber’s point shot.   Boychuk, the 14th player taken in the 2008 NHL Draft, has been waived twice this season, once by Carolina and once by Pittsburgh.

Wilson added two goals in the third period, the second one coming on the power play. Wilson did not necessarily agree that it was a relief for the Predators to break out of such a scoring slump.

Edmonton entered with losses in four straight, three in regulation. For all of their young firepower, the Oilers have been shut out on consecutive nights and have not scored a power-play goal during the last five games (they did not earn a power play on Friday).

Edmonton is 1-4-2 on its nine-game road trip, with stops remaining in Chicago and Colorado. In three of its last four games, Edmonton has been outscored by 14-2 but coach Ralph Krueger was hopeful that some injured veterans – goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, defenseman Mark Fistric and center Shawn Horcoff – would soon rejoin the team and bring some “freshness.”

Still, Krueger was asked about the team’s lack of net presence and his answer seemed to act as a metaphor for everything that ails Edmonton right now.

Three star selections
1st:   COLIN WILSON
2nd:   PEKKA RINNE
3rd:   SHEA WEBER
Winning Goaltender
Pekka Rinne
Losing Goaltender
Devan Dubnyk

GAME HIGHLIGHTS:

http://nhl.cdn.neulion.net/u/videocenter/flex/images/evp.swf

2-22-13 Preds vs Canucks, 1-0 Canucks

This was a Friday night game, so we just took that day off work and drove up, went to the game, spent the night and came back down on Saturday, so no fun movies this round.   Was great fun to get to see Luongo and was a very tight game, but still wanted Preds to win.   But it was not to be.

I’m not a Canucks fan, per se, as much as I am several of their players and/or their talent; Luongo of course, The Sedins, Bieksa, Burrows………can root for them anytime except when they face my team  🙂

So………….here’s a few warmups, and of course, it’s primarily Luongo, because being a goalie girl, he’s one of my all time favorite goalies.   So here he comes…..

Oh boy, there’s always one  🙂  

Hey, Bobby Lu

I just liked this view down the ice

Henrik Sedin 

The Sedin Brothers 

More Bobby Lu looking all warrior

Um, yeah, I’m taking like 1000 of you, but hey, look over your right shoulder!  

Whatcha looking at?   

Maybe he likes the arena?   

And then there’s Schneider, another favorite 

Henrik did the coolest thing.  He took pucks on his stick and purposely made sure they got over the glass and to the kidlets that were adoring him!   

 

 
PEKKA!!!   My very favorite!   Next to MOOSE, of course!

A little bit of Hamhuis

More Bieksa

Ok, I know, but now he’s in net taking some shots

Hey Cap!  

And now for some Schneider, who I also admire

Is Schneider seeing something on his mitt? 

 More Bieksa

Maxim Lapierre

 Yeah, it’s me again 

 

Chris Higgins

More Hamhuis

 Alexandre Burrows

And Gnash drops in

 Game Time!   Opening Face Off

And Preds start hammering Luongo

 The Vancouver Canucks beat the Nashville Predators at their own game.  The Canucks out-defended the NHL’s stingiest defense in their own building on Friday night, limiting the Predators to just 10 shots after the first period. Fourth-liner Dale Weise scored midway through the third period and Roberto Luongo finished with 23 saves as the Canucks left Bridgestone Arena with a 1-0 victory.

The Predators win by playing shutdown defense in front of All-Star goaltender Pekka Rinne. On Friday, the Canucks used the same formula — but executed it just a little better.

Neither team scored until Maxim Lapierre circled the net, came out into the lower right circle and fired a shot that hit Rinne’s pads. The rebound came right to Weise, who ripped it into the open left side at 9:14 of the final period for his first goal of the season and just the fifth of his NHL career.

Luongo stopped 13 shots in the opening period, but spent large chunks of the last two periods without a lot to do as the Canucks stifled the Predators at every opportunity to win for the second time in as many nights. Cory Schneider was in goal for Thursday’s 4-3 win at Dallas, which ended Vancouver’s three-game losing streak.

Luongo was a lot busier than Rinne in the first 20 minutes as the Predators outshot Vancouver 13-3. He made an excellent save on a right-point blast through traffic by Shea Weber midway through the period and stopped four shots during a late power play, including a jam try by Patric Hornqvist after a save on Martin Erat’s close-in opportunity.

Gnash getting the crowd excited!

Rinne finished with 23 saves in a game that saw few scoring opportunities for either team.

But the Canucks got their legs under them in the second period and began to get the better of the play, though they outshot the Predators just 9-5.

HEY LUONGO, NICE stream there, with your “G”!   

Rinne was tested for the first time 6:13 into the middle period when he moved out to the top of the crease to take Jannik Hansen’s 30-foot blast in the midsection after Hansen took the puck away from Colin Wilson in the Nashville zone.

Rinne also denied the Sedin twins in quick succession with 8:40 left in the period, denying Daniel’s short backhander and stopping Henrik on the rebound.

After Weise’s goal put Vancouver ahead, Wilson had the Predators’ best chance with 6:49 remaining when he was left alone in the slot, but he fired over the net. Nashville also had a late power play when Alexandre Burrows was called for slashing with 2:13 left but didn’t get a shot on goal despite pulling Rinne to get a 6-on-4 skating advantage. Mike Fisher had a chance in the slot with just under a minute left but fired high.

 

 

 

 

 

Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury and did not return. He played 9:31 and had two shots on goal.

The shutout was the second of the season for Luongo and the 62nd of his career, second among active goaltenders to New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur, who has 120.

Three star selections
1st:   ROBERTO LUONGO
2nd:   DALE WEISE
3rd:   PEKKA RINNE

Winning Goaltender
Roberto Luongo

Losing Goaltender
Pekka Rinne

GAME HIGHLIGHTS:

http://nhl.cdn.neulion.net/u/videocenter/flex/images/evp.swf

2/16/13 Preds Vs Ducks, Ducks 3-2 Shoot Out

This weekend, we left the hotel early and went over to Opry Mills mall to see “A Good Day To Die Hard”.  Gotta love a new Bruce Willis movie.   Action packed (although not a lot of Bruce action, since he’s getting older, he’s just super cool).   Pretty good movie.

After, we had lunch at Logan’s Roadhouse, and then it’s time to get ready for the game!

I didn’t even bring my Canon this time, I only brought a point and shoot, because I’m still so frustrated with the netting messing up my pictures, I just didn’t want to deal with it.    That, and that Preds keep losing, and I just hate documenting that.   So……….on with the writeup, not many pictures from me, I’m going to let the Nashville Preds photog do the work this time, and their photos are at the bottom.  

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The Nashville Predators made Anaheim goaltender Viktor Fasth work hard to continue the perfect start to his NHL career.

All the guys are on the ice!

The very awesome Teemu Selanne 

Fasth heading over for some duty!   

Hiller’s no longer solid black weird lid!  I kinda like this one, as good as it gets

Fasth, thirsty 

David Legwand scored the game’s first goal at 13:31 of the opening period when he popped in the rebound of defenseman Jonathon Blum’s shot from the point.

The following photos are courtesy of the team photographer where noted:

Nick Bonino and Corey Perry scored in the shootout and the Ducks beat the Predators 3-2 on Saturday night to earn their fourth straight victory and eighth in their last nine games.

In the tiebreaker, Fasth allowed just one of three Nashville shooters to score. The 30-year-old improved to 8-0-0 on the season, with four of those victories coming in shootouts.

It was the second time in as many games this season that the teams went to a shootout. The first came Jan. 26 in Anaheim in Fasth’s NHL debut.

Pekka Rinne stopped one of Anaheim’s three shootout attempts. The loss halted Nashville’s three-game winning streak.

Matt Beleskey evened the score at 1 at 17:25 of the first.

As Beleskey was skating through the slot, Perry hit him with a pass, and Beleskey beat Rinne high for his third goal of the season.

The goal was the first puck to get by Rinne in his last 155:06 of action, a personal best.

We did get to see “Deacon” again tonite, and of course, he sat right beside JB again, and of course, I didn’t jump over and squeal and get my photo with him, I just took a bunch!

Nashville regained the lead at 9:31 when Shea Weber beat Fasth with a wrist shot from the right point.

The Nashville captain’s goal was his first of the season and 100th of his NHL career.

Weber’s goal came just after Nashville killed off an Anaheim two-man advantage of 1:54 following successive delay-of-game penalties assessed to Rinne and defenseman Hal Gill.

Anaheim drew even again at 16:08 of the second on Patrick Maroon’s first career goal.

Kyle Palmieri had the puck on the left boards and threw it in front, where Maroon was able to tip the puck past Rinne.

Anaheim concluded its season-long six-game road trip 5-1-0.

NOTES: Nashville C Colin Wilson played in his 200th career NHL game. He has points in three consecutive games. … Predators LW Sergei Kostitsyn recorded his 100th career assist. … After allowing at least one power-play goal against in its last four games, Anaheim did not allow one in Nashville’s five opportunities with the man advantage.

Three star selections
1st: SHEA WEBER
2nd: PATRICK MAROON
3rd: VIKTOR FASTH
Winning Goaltender
Viktor Fasth

Losing Goaltender
Pekka Rinne

GAME HIGHLIGHTS:

http://nhl.cdn.neulion.net/u/videocenter/flex/images/evp.swf

1/19/13 ~ Finally, Opening Night, Preds vs CBJ, 3-2 CBJ in SO

YAYYY, it’s finally opening night for the 2013 season.  Abbreviated season, tho it is, it’s still a season, and we’re finally in the presence of live hockey!!!

We went up on Friday night like we generally do, then Saturday morning we went over to the Opry Mills Mall Theater to see “Broken City”.   A very very good movie, as it turned out, with Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe! I highly recommend it.

Next was lunch, and then game time!!!  

A few warm up shots:   

Three goalies

The post-Rick Nash Era in Columbus is off to a good start.  Derick Brassard scored in the sixth round of the shootout Saturday night to give the Blue Jackets a 3-2 victory at Nashville — a place where they had won once in their past 20 visits since the start of the 2006-07 season.

It was the fifth season-opening victory in franchise history and the first since the Blue Jackets beat the Minnesota Wild to open the 2009-10 season.

After finishing last in the overall standings in 2011-12, the Blue Jackets dealt Nash, who holds almost all of the franchise’s offensive records, to the New York Rangers for three young players and a draft pick. One of those players, center Artem Anisimov, tied the game by beating Rinne at 12:05 of the second period. He also beat Rinne with a backhander in the second round of the shootout. David Legwand prolonged the tiebreaker by scoring in the third round for Nashville.

The Predators made few changes from last season, but coach Barry Trotz said the lack of a preseason was still a problem.

Martin Erat got the Predators off to a fast start by beating Bobrovsky with a wrist shot 39 seconds into the game. Another Columbus newcomer, Nick Foligno, tied it with a power-play tip-in at 16:08, but defenseman Ryan Ellis scored a power-play goal at 17:55 to put the Predators back in front.

Mrs. Underwood Fisher was in the house tonite  

More “getting to know you’s”  

Check where the puck is!  

And, Hannan gets a meet and greet

 

Nashville captain Shea Weber fought Columbus’ Jared Boll in the second period after he felt Smith was checked too hard. It was his first fighting major since 2009-10.

  

Columbus tied it when Anisimov took a pass from Fedor Tyutin at the blue line and held off Nashville center Paul Gaustad before beating Rinne with a backhander.

Brassard beat goaltender Pekka Rinne to start the sixth round of the shootout, and Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky gave the Blue Jackets the extra point when he denied Chris Smith’s attempt, disappointing a sellout crowd of 17,113. The game sold out in three days after tickets were put on sale.

Tonight’s Entertainment:   “Deacon” from the show “Nashville”.  What was awesome was that between their sets, he sat right beside JB.  He was such a nice guy, taking photos and signing a bazillion autographs and, he and JB chatted.  I was just like, whaa!    But I didn’t jump over, tho I wished I had, lol.

His real name is Charles “Chip” Eston:   http://beta.abc.go.com/shows/nashville/bios/deacon-claybourne-character-bio

Bobrovsky, who was acquired from the Philadelphia Flyers during the summer, stopped 32 shots. Rinne finished with 26 saves.

Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.   The following photos are from the Nashville Team Photographer:

GAME HIGHLIGHTS

http://nhl.cdn.neulion.net/u/videocenter/flex/images/evp.swf

Day 113 and ……… Lockout is Over

Schedule remains to be seen and we have seasons tickets, several games of which have passed already and the tickets are sitting in the box, but we do have tickets for opening weekend, which should be January 19th,  and I guess it remains to be seen from there, but yay, HOCKEY!

NHL Statement this morning:

NHL, union reach tentative agreement to end lockout

Kevin Allen, USA TODAY Sports10:18a.m. EST January 6, 2013

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The NHL is back and federal mediator Scot L. Beckenbaugh will get credit for the save.
Commissioner Gary Bettman publicly thanked Beckenbaugh after he brought the NHL and NHL Players’ Association together during a 16-hour marathon bargaining session that ended just before 4 a.m. with a new 10-year collective-bargaining agreement that ends a 113-day old lockout and ensures the start of the 2012-13 season

“There’s still a lot of work to be done, but the basic framework of the deal has been agreed upon,” Bettman said.

Details of the season have not yet been finalized, but there won’t be fewer than 48 games and there could be more. The season will start on Jan. 19 or before.

“Scot Beckenbaugh, next time I’m in NYC, dinner is on me,” Edmonton Oilers center Sam Gagner said on Twitter. “Thanks for helping get us back on the ice.”

NHL officials will be crossing their fingers that fans come back as enthusiastically as they did after a lockout canceled the 2004-05 season.

‘Even on days when I thought I didn’t care and would boycott, I was deluding myself,” said Nashville Predators fan Michael Bagnall of Murfreesboro, Tenn.. “I’m just so damn glad to have my sport coming back.”

Negotiations, contentious throughout the process, has boiled over Thursday, but Beckenbaugh brought down the temperature on Friday with some shuttle diplomacy and mediation. He went back and forth between the sides to determine where they had room to move on their positions.

Players had earlier agreed to a 50-50 split of the hockey-related revenue, a concession from the last CBA when they received 57%. But the final hurdles that were cleared game on the pension plan, where players will receive a pension plan similar to major league baseball players. Owners have agreed to accept some liability in that plan. Plus, the NHL accepted a $64.3 million salary cap for the second year and players accepted a seven-year cap on individual contracts. Teams can sign their own players for eight years. Teams can make two compliance buyout to get under the 2013-14 cap, but it will count against the players’ share.

The new CBA also calls for a year-to-year variance limit of 35% on multi-year contracts, and the lowest season can not be less than 50% of the highest. Originally, owners wanted a 5% variance.

Winnipeg Jets defenseman Ron Hainsey, one of the key negotiators for the NHLPA, called the pension plan the “centerpiece” of the deal for players.

“This (agreement) means now that the owners and players are in a true partnership and have to work together very hard to grow the game and revenues in the next 10 years so this deal is great for everyone,” said player agent Matt Keator, whose client list includes Hainsey.

It is believed that NHL players will end up playing in the 2014 Olympic Games, but it is not part of this agreement.

Bettman had given the sides a drop-dead date of Jan. 11 to reach a deal.

“Our focus now is to give fans, whether it’s 48 games or 50, the most exciting season we can,” Hainsey said.

George Cohen, director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service that provided Beckenbaugh, issued this statement:

 “On behalf of the FMCS, I want to extend our congratulations to both parties for their important accomplishment. The negotiated agreement represents the successful culmination of a long and difficult road in which the parties ultimately were able to reach mutually acceptable solutions to a wide variety of contentious subjects of bargaining. Of course, the agreement will pave the way for the professional players to return to the ice and for the owners to resume their business operations. But the good news extends beyond the parties directly involved; fans throughout North America will have the opportunity to return to a favorite pastime and thousands of working men and women and small businesses will no longer be deprived of their livelihoods. Last but surely not least, I want to recognize the extraordinary contribution that my colleague, Scot Beckenbaugh, Deputy Director for Mediation Services, made in providing herculean assistance of the highest caliber to the parties throughout the most critical periods in the negotiations.”

The question now is how fans will react to the second lockout in eight years and the fourth labor dispute in 20 years. There is worry about more fan pushback after this lockout.
“Fans deserve something for four months of anguish,” former NHL star Jeremy Roenick said.

Florida Panthers owner Michael Yormark said he would announce a ticket promotion on Monday that would allow fans to sit with him at all home games this season.
“I hope that we can replace the intense negativity brought on our sport with a reminder of how great it can be when the action is on the ice,” Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference said on Twitter.

Fan reaction on Twitter was a mixed bag, with some fans thrilled to have the sport back and others bitter that negotiations took so long to complete.

“I moved to Raleigh from Charleston, S.C., last year just to be in an NHL city,” said NHL fan Jenny Larke. “Today, I can wash the egg off my face.”

The other question is what will the peacetime relationship now be between the NHL and players after a very contentious CBA battle.

“Any process like this in the system we have is difficult,” said NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr. “It can be long. I’ve said repeatedly throughout this process that ‑‑ when somebody would say what do you see ahead, the answer is you get up tomorrow and you try to find a way to do it and you keep doing that until you find a way to succeed.”
Player agent Allan Walsh, an outspoken NHL critic on Twitter throughout negotiations, said Sunday morning that Fehr and his staff deserved credit for the deal.
“I’ve never been prouder to work for the players as they remained united through a very difficult time,’ Walsh said. “Now, that the battle is over, it is time to begin managing the peace.”