"Don Fehr and I are here to tell you that we have reached an agreement on the framework of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the details of which need to be put on p[aper," NHL Commissioner Gary Betman said. "We have to dot a lot of I's and cross a lot of T's. There is still a lot of work to be done, but the basic framework has been agree upon. We have to go through a ratification process and the Board of Governors has to approve it from the League side and, obviously, the players have to approve it as well."
The two sides came to an agreement around 5 a.m. this morning. The tentative agreement is for a 10-year CBA, in which there is a mutual opt-out option after eight years. Player contract lengths are also limited to seven years except for players resigning, then contracts can be eight years.
"I am happy deal has been reached and excited to get back to playing hockey," Sidney Crosby said in an email to ESPN.com's Katie Strang.
The agreement also sets a salary cap at $64.3 million for the 2013-2014 season. Teams have this season to cut down to that level but can spend up to $70.2 million. The floor is also set at $44 million.
The two sides would never have come to an agreement if it wasn't for Deputy Director for Mediation Services Scott Beckenbaugh.
"I want to recognize the extraordinary contribution that my colleague, Scott Beckenbaugh, Deputy Director for Mediation Services, made in providing herculean assistance to the highest caliber to the parties throughout the most critical periods in the negotiations," FMCS Director George Cohen said in a statement.
There is no timetable as to when the players will be back on the ice, but many players have already expressed their excitment, sorrow and are returning from Europe.
"From my grandparents to our B's fans, I am deeply sorry that we had to miss so much hockey. All we can do now is play our hearts out for you," Andrew Ference tweeted along with several other sorry tweets.
The Bruins had the most players playing overseas but several have previously returned to Boston. Ference, Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg, and David Krejci are all still currently overseas while Tyler Seguin, Patrice Bergeron and Tuukka Rask have returned to Boston.
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