The NHL season could start in a little more than a week after the board of governors ratified a tentative agreement between the NHL and NHLPA.
The league is looking at starting the season on January 19, playing a 48-game schedule, a source told ESPN.
The NHL lockout dragged on for more than 100 days before players and owners reached an agreement last week. On Wednesday, the 30 governors on hand voted unanimously to pass the agreement that will bring hockey back. Next, the 700-plus players will vote electronically on it, which will take place Friday or Saturday.
With the lockout finally ended, the NHL season can start, and teams are not wasting any time. Training camps are set to tentatively open on Sunday, and teams are already busy making player personnel moves.
As the season nears, the Toronto Maple Leafs have fired general manager Brian Burke. While it wasn’t entirely a surprise that Burke would be fired after the Maple Leafs failed to make the playoffs every season since the 2004-05 lockout ended, the timing was a bit curious.
ESPN hockey writer Scott Burnside wrote:
“But what remains mystifying about the decision announced Wednesday to fire Brian Burke and replace him with his former right-hand man and long-time pal Dave Nonis is: Why now?
“What management course taught the well-heeled, highly-paid ownership group at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) that rearranging the upper management of a team, oh, about an hour before the start of a lockout-truncated NHL season is a good idea?”
There will likely be many more player moves as teams call up their talent from the minor leagues and overseas in anticipation of the start of the NHL season.