UNDATED (AP) - Many NHL players continue to filter back to North American from Europe to prepare for an abbreviated season. The league and players are frantically trying to get ready for camp this weekend after the two sides reached a tentative contract agreement Sunday morning. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly tells The Associated Press the league appears headed toward a 48-game season unless the union can expedite its ratification process. The league has circulated a memo to teams telling them to be ready to play by Jan. 19, the date the shortened season is expected to start. Some NHL players, including Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin went overseas during the lockout. Ovechkin played for his hometown Dynamo Moscow in the Kontinental Hockey League and was welcomed back to Washington by the Capitals when he arrived at a D.C.-area airport. Penguins star Sidney Crosby and nearly a dozen teammates worked out at a suburban Pittsburgh ice rink yesterday.
NEW YORK (AP) - Hockey players are sticking together as a union for now and are working long and late hours with the NHL to try to reach a new collective bargaining agreement to get the game back on the ice. They'll be back at it Thursday. The sides met in small groups throughout the day Wednesday and then held a full-scale bargaining session with a federal mediator at night that lasted nearly five hours and didn't wrap up until about 1 a.m. Thursday. They planned to get back at it late this morning. The biggest detail to emerge from Wednesday night's marathon talks was that Donald Fehr is still the executive director of the players' association, which passed on its first chance to declare a disclaimer that would dissolve the union and turn it into a trade association. Last month, players voted overwhelmingly in favor of giving the union executive board the right to declare the disclaimer, but that permission expired at midnight Wednesday. The disclaimer would allow individual players to file antitrust lawsuits against the NHL. Officials say there's been some progress.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - After a 33-28 loss to South Carolina in the Outback Bowl, Michigan finishes the year 8-5. It was a disappointing record for a team that entered the season ranked eighth in the country following a Sugar Bowl victory a year ago. The Wolverines were blown out in their opener by Alabama, and the schedule didn't ease up much after that. Michigan also lost to Notre Dame and Ohio State, two teams that went unbeaten in the regular season. Now, the Wolverines move on without Denard Robinson, the exhilarating quarterback who helped Michigan recover from the depths of Rich Rodriguez's coaching tenure and regain its spot among Big Ten contenders under Brady Hoke.
ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) - Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew says as far as he knows, both he and coach Jim Schwartz will be back next season. Mayhew adds he's spoken with ownership and discussed his plans going forward. The Lions lost their final eight games and finished 4-12. Mayhew spoke with reporters for about 45 minutes Wednesday night. He says he's taking a wait-and-see approach on wide receiver Titus Young, who was exiled in November for what Schwartz said were behavior problems. Mayhew also says it was a mistake last offseason to depend on running back Jahvid Best's return. Best was recovering from a 2011 concussion and ended up not playing this season. Mayhew says he'll try to renegotiate or extend quarterback Matthew Stafford's contract during the offseason to free up cap room.