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Penguins remain miffed by lockout's length

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By Josh Yohe and Rob Rossi
Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, 8:32 p.m.

Penguins ownership tried in early December to broker a labor deal among moderates within the NHL and Players' Association. Their push, which included Sidney Crosby, proved unsuccessful.

There were signs during the 113-day NHL lockout that Penguins brass had grown frustrated with the process — and a statement released Monday by majority co-owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle, and CEO David Morehouse, appeared to confirm that sentiment.

“We offer our apology. There is nothing we can say to explain or excuse what has happened over the past four months.

“However, now that the NHL is back, we want to assure you that the Pittsburgh Penguins will do everything we can to regain your trust and show how much we value your amazing support. …

“We want to thank you for your patience and your loyalty to the Penguins. We hope to repay it many times over. Our commitment to winning the Stanley Cup and our commitment to you has not changed.”

Crosby seemed miffed that a deal took so long to complete.

“It's pretty close to what was there in New York (in December),” Crosby said. “There's no explanation for it. If I had it, I'd give it to you. It's negotiations.”

• Defenseman Brooks Orpik indicated that the NHLPA wasn't completely satisfied with the final deal. “It's the best deal we could have gotten if we wanted to save the season,” he said. “If we wanted to go down another avenue, risk missing the season and going to litigation, maybe we could have gotten a better deal. That's anyone's guess. Guys wanted to play. If you look at the deal, the pension was the one tangible thing that improved compared to last time. Everything else was status quo or we gave back a little.”

• NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in an email the schedule could be released “by the end of the week.” Release of the NHL schedule, likely 48 games, is tied to ratification of the new labor contract, Daly said. A Jan. 19 opening day remains likely, but training camps must begin by Sunday, Daly said.

• C Evgeni Malkin, D Kris Letang and D Matt Niskanen are among the Penguins expected to arrive in Pittsburgh sometime Tuesday.

• A dozen Penguins skated for 90 minutes in an informal practice at Southpointe on Monday. The team will have an informal workout at Consol Energy Center on Tuesday.

— Josh Yohe and Rob Rossi

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