There was almost an anticlimatic air about the official end of the NHL's lockout.
It started Sept. 15 and ended Saturday night when the memorandum of understanding was completed. That final step took much longer than expected -- symbolic of the long and painful labor struggle between the NHL and the players association.
An NHL PR operative tweeted at about 7:20 p.m. (Pacific time) #hockeyisback, signaling that the memorandum of understanding had been signed.
And thus, NHL hockey was back in business with teams free to start signing players and making trades, at 9 p.m. (Pacific). The NHL's board of governors had signed off on the deal on Wednesday and the players ratified the new CBA earlier Saturday.
Training camps will open Sunday, giving teams precious little time to prepare for the start of the shortened season. The Kings will open their season Saturday, Jan. 19 at noon against Chicago at Staples Center, highlighted by the Stanley Cup banner raising ceremony.
Anaheim travels to Vancouver for the season opener, also on Jan. 19, and also faces the Canucks in their first game at home, at Anaheim, Jan. 25.
The Kings will play 11 of their first 15 games on the road. Their last regular-season game is April 27 against visiting San Jose.