Let's start with what the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is. It's a legal document that basically acts as the CBA for this year while the actual CBA is polished off. Otherwise there would be no chance of the two sides playing this year, so both sides play under an MOU with the understanding that the CBA will reflect the same language once it's finalized.
This morning, the NHLPA voted as to whether or not they were going to ratify the CBA. The results were expected to come this morning, but were actually delayed until the MOU is signed -- which insinuates that it was approved, which was expected anyway.
So what's the holdup? Well, to put it simply, it's 2004. Back in 2004 the NHL blew by the fine print because they thought they had already won the war. And while they did win the war, the NHLPA won major battles in the fine print. The biggest of those battles was the front-loaded contracts general managers were permitted to hand out. Both sides want to avoid that now, especially after the past four months fighting for every inch. It would be a shame to lose any ground now.
So we wait, which has been the common theme of this entended lockout. The difference now, of course, is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
A few key things to remember: Both the official schedule and any roster moves can't happen until the MOU is signed. So expect a massive flurry of activity once the pact is finished. Experts have heard sources say it should be done today.
Let's hope so. The fans have done enough waiting.