NHL owners will vote Wednesday on the tentative labor agreement reached with the players’ union. If a majority approves, as expected, the league will move one step closer toward the official end of the long lockout that began Sept. 16.
As of Tuesday afternoon, a memorandum of understanding of the deal hadn’t been completed, so the union has yet to schedule a vote for its more than 700 members. A majority of players also must approve the deal for hockey to return to the ice.
‘‘We continue to document the agreement,’’ NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in an e-mail Tuesday.
The league is expected to announce a 48-game schedule, according to Canada's The Sports Network, with all games played within each conference.
If there are no snags, ratification could be finished by Saturday and training camps can open Sunday if approval is reached on both sides. Daly said the season will begin Jan. 19.
‘‘[We] don’t need a signed document to complete ratification process,’’ Daly wrote, ‘‘but we do need a signed agreement to open camps. The goal is to get that done by Saturday so that we can open camps on Sunday.’’
The NHL has yet to release a new schedule. The regular season was supposed to begin on Oct. 11.
The deal was reached Sunday on the 113th day of the lockout and seemingly saved the season that was delayed for three months.
Kovalchuk a Devil
According to Daly, superstar forward llya Kovalchuk has to play for the New Jersey Devils once the lockout is officially lifted. Daly said that the KHL reaffirmed its intention to honor an agreement with the NHL concerning contracts.
‘‘They would not permit a player who is under a valid and binding NHL SPC [to] continue to play in the KHL once the lockout is officially lifted,’’ Daly said. ‘‘They have confirmed their intention to honor this agreement to us.’’
There has been some intrigue this week whether Kovalchuk would leave SKA St. Petersburg to return to the Devils. Some reports in Russia said he was concerned that he would make less money playing in a lockout-shortened NHL season.
Kovalchuk, who signed a 15-year, $100 million contract with New Jersey in 2010, played in a KHL game Tuesday.
Moore’s wife dies
The wife of former San Jose Sharks forward Dominic Moore has died.
Katie Moore died Monday after a nine-month battle with liver cancer.
Dominic Moore missed San Jose’s final two playoff games last April to be with his wife shortly after she was diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer.
Moore was acquired by San Jose last February in a deal with Tampa Bay. He is currently an unrestricted free agent.
Congenial plea Police had an easy time identifying one suspect in Vancouver’s Stanley Cup riots: a former Miss Congeniality beauty pageant winner.
Sophie Laboissonniere, who was 20 during the June 2011 riots over the Canucks’ loss in the National Hockey League finals to the Bruins, has pleaded guilty for rioting. She was not in court when her lawyer entered the plea on her behalf.
She was among the first suspects charged after reports identified her as a Miss Congeniality winner at a Vancouver beauty pageant.