NHL says it's sorry to fans in newspaper ads

National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman speaks with the media at a press conference announcing the start of the NHL season at the Westin Times Square on January 9, 2013 in New York City. Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

NEW YORK With hockey set to return after a four-month lockout, the NHL is apologizing again.

Echoing last week's remarks by Commissioner Gary Bettman, the NHL is using full-page newspaper ads Thursday to tell fans it's sorry for the lockout that delayed the season and trimmed the schedule from 82 games to 48. The season starts Saturday.

The ad says: "Like you, we've missed NHL hockey."

The league is thanking fans for their patience and apologizing for the lost games. The ad says the league is "committed to earning back your trust and support" with "hard work and unwavering dedication."

The ad is running in about 40 newspapers across the United States and Canada. It appears in at least one newspaper in each of the NHL's 30 team markets as well as a handful of national papers in the two countries.

"While it's all well and good, I think everybody has had enough of the apology tour, but it's likely not done," writes CBSSports.com's Brian Stubits. "Surely every team will be saying sorry before all the home openers, and there still could be something painted on the ice."

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