By Mike Harrington
NHL owners are on board with the new collective bargaining agreement. Now it's up to the players to officially end the lockout.
The Board of Governors unanimously approved the new 10-year deal in their meeting today in New York City. When it ended, commissioner Gary Bettman had the following message to fans:
"I'm sorry," Bettman said. "I know that an explanation or an apology will not erase the hard feelings that have built up over the past few months but I owe you an apology nevertheless."
Bettman's press conference at the Westin Times Square was light on information, as he maintained he was not going to revisit the process or its results while the players still had to OK the deal. Only when that happens, likely late Friday or early Saturday, will the league release its schedule.
"This was a long and extremely difficult negotation, one that took a lot longer than anybody wanted," Bettman said. "I know it caused frustration, disappointing and even suffering to a lot of people that have supported the NHL in many different ways. ... In the end, netiher side got eveything it wanted and everyone lost in the short term.
"I read the letters, I followed the tweets. I read the blogs. We have a lot of work to do. The National Hockey League has a lot of responsibility to earn back your trust and support, whether you watch one game or every game."