NHL and Players Association Reach Tentative Deal, Season Likely to Be Salvaged

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Go ahead and celebrate all six American fans:

It looks like there will be a professional hockey season after all.

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The NHL and its Players Association have reached a tentative agreement that will end the months-long lockout, with commissioner Gary Bettman swing today that the sides "still have a lot of work to do."

But "it's good to be at this point."

A majority approval will be needed from both the board of governors and the Players Association membership before a new collective bargaining agreement can be signed, but the framework reportedly includes a mutual opt-out clause after eight years and a provision that limits contracts at seven years for free agents that change teams.

The upcoming salary cap, meanwhile, will be $64.3 million, while the floor remains at $44 million.

Sources tell ESPN that a 48-game season, commencing on January 19, is the most likely scenario.

As a result of the delayed start, the Stanley Cup Playoffs would then be extended to the end of June.

"I am happy deal has been reached and excited to get back to playing hockey," Penguins sensation Sidney Crosby said in an email.