Sunday, January 6, 2013

Ladies and Gentleman, the NHL is back!

January 6, 2013

Time was running out. Half the season had already been cancelled and if nothing had been done by Thursday, there would be no season.

In the last few months of 2012, negotiations for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the NHL and the NHL Players Association, things did not look like they were going to well.

Both sides were impatient and unwilling to compromise, resulting in multiple walk outs on negotiations by either the NHL or the NHLPA. Any progress, if any was made, came to a screeching halt with sudden breaks in negotiations.

But the start of a new year, brought change. With the drop-dead date of Thursday, January 10 approaching, negotiations picked up again. Both the NHL and PA were meeting more frequently and for longer than before.

Then mediator Scot Beckenbaugh was brought in to help move negotiations along, and that is exactly what he did.

Beckenbaugh kept talks between both sides going and convinced the both of them that it was worht it to keep trying to make progress.

Then, on Sunday morning, an agreement was announced. League Comissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr, who were opposing forces for many months, were standing next to each other to announce to the media that there will in fact be a season.

The new CBA is not complete yet, however. Although an agreement is in place, Bettman told the media that the finer details still have to be worked out.

But the important thing is that there will be an NHL season. A shortened 48-50 game season, but still a season.

Via's Tim Panaccio, here are the main points of the new CBA.

- For the 2013-2014 season, the salary cap will be set at $64.3 million. The Players originally bargained for $65 milion, while the League Owners wanted $60 million. It appears the Players won out on that one. The floor for the salary cap will be $44 million.

- The CBA will last for 10 years, but can be opted out of after the eighth year.

- A Player can only receive a maximum of a seven year term on this contract, unless he opts to re-sign with his current team, in which he can receive eight. So, players getting 10 to 15-year deals are no more.

- The variance of salary between players can not exceed more than 30 percent per year and 50 percent for contracts. In other words, one player can't make 10 times as much as another in one year.

- League Owners will pay for pensions when players retire.

- Each team will have two contract buyouts, but this will not be put into effect until the 2013-2014 season.

- $200 million is now the amount  that will be shared by teams for revenue sharing.

As far as the start of training camps and regular season scheduling goes, nothing official has been announced yet but will be posted as soon as details become known.

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