Three generations of the Ribble family hurried through a parking lot in suburban Detroit, eager to see the Red Wings practice when the lockout finally ended.

"I was getting nervous we weren't going to have hockey this year," said Reid Ribble, whose dad joined him, his wife and their two young sons to watch the Red Wings skate last Sunday. "I'm glad they got it figured out."

It took awhile, and it might end up being a costly blow to the sport. The NHL, its teams and players have work to do to win people back after the third work stoppage in less than two decades.

"We all know there's a debt there to the fans," said Chicago Blackhawks star Jonathan Toews, who took part in negotiations with the NHL.

Commissioner Gary Bettman, owners and players have said they're sorry in various ways. Teams have tried to apologize with free food, beer and tickets, along with discounted gear and access to the players. The harder work begins Saturday, when 13 games kick off a lockout-shortened season where each team has a 48-game sprint before the playoffs.

"The lockout hurt the game, so we definitely want to do everything we can do to give them a good show," Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said.

Marc Ganis, president of Chicago-based sports business consulting firm Sportscorp Ltd., said the league is skating against a steep incline in many parts of the United States.

"It's a great sport, but it has geographic constraints," Ganis said. "In the stronger markets, such as Detroit, there is a strong, passionate fan base for the NHL. The real challenge for the league is growing its fan base, and that has been its challenge for at least three decades. The league should use this restart of the season as an opportunity to be more fan-friendly."

Kings: The team has given multiyear contract extensions to coach Darryl Sutter, general manager Dean Lombardi and president of business operations Luc Robitaille.

The Stanley Cup champions announced the deals Friday, a day before they begin defense of their title at home against Chicago.

Sutter took over for the fired Terry Murray in December 2011 and immediately led the Kings to the franchise's first championship. Lombardi has been the Kings' general manager since April 2006, drafting and signing most of the Kings' championship roster. He also hired Sutter, his former coach in San Jose.

Islanders: The team suspended newly acquired defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky for failing to report for the start of the season. Visnovsky has been playing in Russia's KHL but is required to return now that the lockout is over.

Blues: St. Louis agreed to terms with defenseman Wade Redden on a one-year, $800,000 deal. Redden, 35, was placed on waivers this week by the New York Rangers. Also, the Blues released defenseman Colin White, who was brought in for a tryout earlier this week. White, 35, played in 54 games for the Sharks last season after 11 seasons with the New Jersey Devils.

Panthers: Florida signed right wing Alex Kovalev to a one-year contract. The 39-year-old Kovalev, who has played in 1,302 NHL games, was with the Panthers on a tryout contract for training camp.

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