Get the banner ready, this damn lockout is over

After a marathon bargaining session, Bettman and Fehr announced a tentative agreement in the wee hours of the morning. If ratified, the next CBA will last ten years.

After 113 days of stupidity, we have come to an end. The NHL will play a shortened season.

We don't know yet whether we will see 50 games starting Jan. 15th, or 48 games on the 19th. But with this tentative agreement, players will be traveling back to training camps, and normal operations can resume.

All the Kings will soon be back in California. Only Anze Kopitar -- injured, naturally, on the day before the lockout ended -- isn't expected to be ready to go in time. The Kings will need to rely on their depth at center to see them through for a short while (perhaps 6 games or so).

For Kings fans, though, the end of the lockout brings a particular sense of relief. After waiting decades for a championship, the full cycle of festivities was put on hold. The banner that was supposed to rise on October 12th will, at long last, go up.

I don't know about you, but though I love a lot of things about watching hockey, gathering together to celebrate is what I missed the most.

Now we can.

Well said, captain. See you soon.