Oilers return to Edmonton, gear up for shortened season
Published Tuesday, January 8, 2013 12:21PM MST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 8, 2013 1:06PM MST
Some of the biggest stars of the Edmonton Oilers are back in Alberta’s capital city, and preparing to hit NHL ice again after the four month NHL lockout.
Three big names – Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, and Justin Schultz – arrived at the Edmonton International Airport late Monday night, after playing with the Oilers’ farm team, the Oklahoma City Barons.
All three are excited to get back on the ice to get the shortened season started, and they feel prepared after their short stints with the AHL.
“It’s definitely going to be compact and it’s something that we’re ready for,” Taylor Hall said. “The AHL seemed to be a weekend league, and we played a lot of back to backs, so hopefully that has prepared us a little bit.”
“It seems we’ve made some strides towards some big players, and everyone’s a year older,” Jordan Eberle said. “I’m looking forward to it for sure.”
The three players will join other players who were on the ice at Rexall Place Monday.
The tentative deal between the NHLPA and the NHL still needs to be ratified – the league’s board of governors will meet Wednesday to vote, and it’s expected to take until the weekend for the 740 players to submit their ballots on the deal.
Both sides are voting after the two sides reached a tentative agreement early Sunday, following a marathon bargaining session.
The details of the agreement have not been announced, but an unnamed source told the Canadian Press that the deal includes a seven-year contract term limit for free agents, and eight years for players re-signing with the same team.
It also includes a 35 percent yearly variance in salary, and no more than 50 percent difference between any two seasons.
In addition, it’s believed the deal also includes defined benefit pension plans for the players, alongside a $64.3 million salary cap in 2013-14, which addresses two key sticking points in negotiations.
While the season is not officially on, it’s likely a shortened 48-game season could begin on Jan. 19.
With files from Laura Tupper, CTVNews.ca Staff, and The Canadian Press