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Penguins notebook: NHL owners unanimously approve new deal

| Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, 4:32 p.m.
REUTERS
Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (71) is expected to return from Russia in time for Penguins' practice Monday. REUTERS/Jason Cohn

The NHL is one step closer toward officially returning.

“The league's governors unanimously approved a new labor contract with the union Wednesday,” Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs said.

“This great game has been gone for far too long, and for that we are truly sorry,” Jacobs said in a statement.

Representatives for each of the 30 NHL clubs met in New York. The Penguins were represented by COO Travis Williams, one of their two alternate governors.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said neither the NHL nor Players' Association won the nearly four-month labor dispute. A 113-day lockout tentatively ended early Sunday morning after 16 consecutive hours of negotiating between the league and union.

Bettman apologized to fans, sponsors and the players Wednesday. He also dismissed “unfounded speculation” that he would not continue in the post he has held since 1993.

The union could start voting on the new labor contract Thursday, with anticipated completion by Saturday. The labor contract is not ratified until it receives owners' and union approval.

Family matter

Penguins CEO David Morehouse is ownership's appointed governor, but he was not in New York on Wednesday.

His excuse was valid. His wife, Vanessa Morehouse, gave birth to her fourth child Monday, daughter Kennedy Riley. The baby was named by her three older siblings, David Morehouse said.

Malkin movement

Evgeni Malkin is not expected to miss the Penguins' first training-camp practice Monday.

Malkin, who played for hometown Metallurg Magnitogorsk of Russia's Kontinental Hockey League during the lockout, remained in Moscow on Wednesday. However, Penguins fans need not fret about the status of their reigning MVP and two-time NHL scoring champion.

Malkin will arrive in Pittsburgh late Saturday or early Sunday, his agent J.P. Barry said. Pending ratification of the labor contract, NHL training camps are set to open Sunday with players' physical examinations.

Rivalry renewed

The schedule for a 48-game season has not been finalized, though most clubs know when and where they will open the season.

The Penguins will play the Flyers at Philadelphia on Jan. 19, though a time has not been finalized. NBC is hoping to televise the game nationally on its broadcast network or cable channel, NBC Sports Network. The Penguins-Flyers game would be played in the afternoon because Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center is booked for a college hockey game between Penn State and Vermont. That game is set for 7:30 p.m.

Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at rrossi@tribweb.com or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.

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