The NHL and the players' association reached a tentative agreement early today to end a nearly four-month-old lockout that threatened to wipe out the season. A marathon negotiating session that lasted more than 16 hours and stretched from early yesterday afternoon until just before 6am today produced a 10-year deal that still must be ratified by the players.
After the sides stayed mostly apart for two days, following late-night talks that turned sour, federal mediator Scot Beckenbaugh worked virtually around the clock to get the sides back to the bargaining table. The NHL avoided the embarrassment of having a second season lost because of a labor dispute when no other North American sports league ever had to cancel one. (Read more NHL stories.)