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League, NHL players finalize labor deal; camps to open Sunday

| Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, 9:12 p.m.
Penguins winger James Neal during practice at Consol Energy Center Jan. 2013. Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review

The NHL lockout officially is over.

Lawyers for the league and Players' Association finalized a memorandum of understanding late Saturday, clearing the path for training camps to open Sunday. The legal document was required before league activities could resume.

General managers now can start tinkering with rosters — and many personnel decisions are anticipated.

A 36-hour union vote to ratify the labor contract wrapped just after 8 a.m. Saturday. About 89 percent of the 700 union players voted, with only 12 voting against the deal, sources said.

Owners on Wednesday voted unanimously in favor of the deal.

The 113-day lockout tentatively ended a week ago after a marathon bargaining session produced an agreement in principle.

Players were welcomed back to their clubs' facilities Tuesday.

Penguins players will undergo physicals Sunday morning at Consol Energy Center. Their 3:10 p.m. workout at Southpointe is open to the public, and coach Dan Bylsma and his staff could oversee that session.

The Penguins will have only five practice days, and no exhibition games, to prepare for their regular-season opener at 3 p.m. Saturday at Philadelphia.

The home opener is set for 7 p.m. Jan. 23 against Toronto.

The NHL did not authorize clubs to release schedules until after the memorandum of understanding was complete.

Single-game tickets for Penguins home games will go on sale at 10 a.m. Tuesday. The Penguins will have announcements Sunday regarding their training camp schedule and regular-season promotions.

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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