The NHL Players' Association concluded its ratification vote on the collective bargaining agreement at 8 this morning, but that was expected to merely be a formality of the players voting "yes."
The real NHL-shaking move today will be the signing of a memorandum of understanding.
The league and its players' association need to sign the agreement before any business can begin. The only word so far is the signing will come "today," probably not until this afternoon.
Once signed, the NHL will release its schedule and open its doors to signing and trades. The Sabres' first move will likely be to sign Jochen Hecht, who agreed to a one-year deal Friday.
While there is no formal announcement of the Sabres' schedule, it's all but certain they will start against Philadelphia at 12:30 p.m. Jan. 20 in First Niagara Center. It's possible we have a glimpse at 15 of the other 24 home games.
Tickets.com, the Sabres' ticketing outlet, has 15 dates listed for "Sabres Parking." If they are correct, Buffalo will open the season with plenty of road games and close it with a home rush. The dates listed:
Sabres Parking Feb 23 Feb 23 2013 7:00PM
Sabres Parking Mar 2 Mar 2 2013 7:00PM
Sabres Parking Mar 12 Mar 12 2013 7:00PM
Sabres Parking Mar 16 Mar 16 2013 3:00PM
Sabres Parking Mar 21 Mar 21 2013 7:00PM
Sabres Parking Mar 30 Mar 30 2013 7:00PM
Sabres Parking Mar 31 Mar 31 2013 7:00PM
Sabres Parking Apr 5 Apr 5 2013 7:00PM
Sabres Parking Apr 7 Apr 7 2013 7:00PM
Sabres Parking Apr 11 Apr 11 2013 7:30PM
Sabres Parking Apr 13 Apr 13 2013 3:00PM
Sabres Parking Apr 14 Apr 14 2013 7:00PM
Sabres Parking Apr 19 Apr 19 2013 7:00PM
Sabres Parking Apr 25 Apr 25 2013 7:00PM
Sabres Parking Apr 26 Apr 26 2013 7:00PM
Again, that is not official. What is official is Ryan Miller knows it will take hard work to erase the pain of the lockout. Read his thoughts here.