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.