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NHL: With deal in place, teams return to ice


THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

First published Jan 13 2013 06:01PM
Updated May 5, 2013 11:32PM

On a sheet of ice a few miles from sandy beaches, the Los Angeles Kings finally got to begin their quest to hoist the Stanley Cup again.

Several hundred fans packed wooden bleachers in El Segundo, Calif., on Sunday, eager to watch the Kings practice four months after the NHL lockout started and seven months after their favorite team was crowned champion for the first time.

"You get a little celebration, but pretty soon you start wanting to get ready for the season," Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick said.

The NHL, and its fans who haven’t been soured by a third work stoppage in less than two decades, can finally shift their focus to the ice .

Almost a full week after agreeing to a tentative deal, both sides signed a memorandum of understanding late Saturday night to seal labor peace for at least eight years. The signatures allowed teams to open training camp Sunday, and most did.

There’s not much time to get ready for a 48-game sprint of a season — all that could be salvaged from an 82-game slate — that will start without anyone playing a preseason game. Los Angeles gets to open at home against the Chicago Blackhawks after unveiling the franchise’s first Stanley Cup banner on Saturday in one of 13 games on opening day.

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