Rest in pain, NHL lockout. It began at 11:59pm on September 15, 2012 and ended at 4:40am on January 6. 113 long, grueling days.
I for one think “tentative agreement” sounds a lot better than “cautious optimism”. The fact that this lockout has taken so long is ridiculous in and of itself, but at least it’s (almost) over.
The way this “tentative agreement” played out was interesting, to say the least. First off, the two sides met for more than 12 hours Friday with mediator Scot Beckenbaugh, going back and forth to meet with both sides, having them not meet face-to-face. The Saturday meeting began shortly after 1pm. They acted as a typical CBA negotiation would between the NHL and NHLPA. There was bickering, breaks, etc. At one point 7 hours into the meeting, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly referred to it as “slow progress.” It was progress nonetheless as the 16-hour marathon meeting ended with a joint press conference by a 5 o’ clock-shadowed NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr.
But enough about the build up. The CBA is tentatively complete pending a vote from the constituents of both the NHL owners and the players. Here’s what we have:
- 10 years with a mutual opt-out after 8 years. NHL has 1st option to terminate, but no later than September 1, 2019. The NHLPA has the 2nd option on September 15, 2019.
- 7 year max on contracts, 8 if they’re re-signing
- Salary cap set at $64.3 million(pro-rated a $70.2 million for this year), with a $44 million floor
- Player salaries can not drop more than 35 percent year-to-year, nor can it drop 50 percent below its highest year.
- All 14 non-playoff teams will get a shot a the 1st overall draft pick.
- Each team will have two compliance(amnesty) buyouts that they can use prior to the 2013-14 season starting next off season.
- A club cannot absorb more than 50 percent of the players’ annual cap hit/salary in any trade.
- For any contract in excess of six years, both teams involved in a trade on a contract would be penalized if he retired before the end of his deal.
- The NHL has instituted a free-agency interview period prior to the actual signing period from the day after the NHL draft until June 30.
With the CBA likely to be completed within a week, we can now began the training camp/preseason conversation. As far as training camp, Bill Daly is hoping they can begin no later than Sunday, though Saturday remains a possibility. Training camp would then run a approximately six days. Some believe if there was a brief training camp and no preseason, a 50-game schedule could begin on the 15th. But a 48-game season starting on January 19th seems more likely, Bill Daly even saying, “It depends on ratification timeline for PA. But it’s looking more and more like 48 games is going to be the only option.” There will be no preseason.
On the topic of voting, the owners will vote tomorrow at their BoG meeting. Afterwards, they will be media availability around 4pm. The players are also expected to vote Thursday and Friday via internet. As of now, the NHL and NHLPA are working on a memorandum of understanding and there is a possibility it could be finished tonight.
Though the schedule hasn’t been released, it is widely expected to begin January 19th. As far as when it will be released, Bill Daly believes the schedule will be completed by the weekend.
According to Sporting News, teams will only play within their conference, with a heavy emphasis on division games. Opening night is expected to have a rivalry theme to it with all 30 teams playing in rivalry games. Think along the lines of: Pens-Flyers, Predators-Red Wings, Oilers-Flames, etc…
The breakdown for 48 games interesting. TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports, each team will play: 4 games vs. two divisional opponents (8), 5 games vs. two divisional opponents (10), 3 games vs. 10 conference rivals (30) for a total of 48 games.
With all this good news, I must bring you bad news. For those hoping this lockout brings an end to Gary Bettman’s tenure as NHL Commissioner, sports lawyer Eric Macramalla reports Gary Bettman signed a 5-year extension in 2011. He still has 4 years left on that contract. I wonder if it was front-loaded. Hmmm.
So there you have it. The lockout is all but over. 2012 NHL lockout, may you rest in shattered pieces.
R.I.P. 2012 NHL Lockout: September 15, 2012 – January 6, 2013(tentative).