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With players' vote complete, NHL needs signed memorandum of understanding to begin business

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., 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.

---John Vogl

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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |