NEW YORK (AP) - NHL players have ratified the new labor deal but the lockout still goes on.
The union says Saturday that players voted in favor of the agreement reached with the NHL last week, however the sides still haven't finished a necessary memorandum of understanding (MOU) regarding the terms of the deal that would allow training camps to open and for the schedule to be released.
The league's board of governors unanimously ratified the contract on Wednesday. Training camps are slated to open Sunday, but voluntary physicals and medical exams were permitted to begin on Friday.
The remaining transition rules, such as when players can go on the ice and for how long, were still being finalized.
Less than a week after the league and the union worked all night to secure an agreement to save the season, players followed team owners and approved the tentative deal that was reached last Sunday.
The MOU is the memo of understanding, which contains all of the major points of the CBA. Both sides need to sign off on that before the NHL can officially lift the lockout and announce schedules, etc.
If that happens Saturday, the following is expected to occur: Training camps would open Sunday, a 48-game season would start on Jan. 19 and the final game of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final would be played before the end of June. This would be the shortest NHL season since 1994-95, when 48 games were also played. That, too, was necessitated by a lockout.