At least they didn’t wait too long. For fans it has been long enough. But a deal was finally struck early this morning.
Early Sunday morning NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr announced there was a framework in place for a new collective bargaining agreement. They should of been forced to hug for a while.
Here are the particulars. For the first year, the salary cap is $60 million but teams can spend up to $70.2 million in the transition period, while the floor is $44 million. Sources said the 2013-14 salary cap, a very divisive issue, will be $64.3 million, while the floor will remain at $44 million. Contract salary variance is capped at 35 percent from year to year, with the provision that the last year can’t vary more than 50 percent from the highest-salaried year, a source told ESPN.com. Revenue sharing will spread $200 million, with a $60 million NHLPA-initiated growth fund included.
Although the deal still requires language clarification, legal fine-tuning and ratification from both sides, a verbal agreement has been reached on the major points. “We still have a lot of work to do,” Bettman said, “but it’s good to be at this point.”
The deal still requires majority approval from both the board of governors by Tuesday and the NHLPA before it can become official.
A 48 and 50 game schedule is said to be ready from the NHL. They need to get teams permission to start formal mini camps and start selling tickets fast. Games are cancelled through Jan 14th so the season will start from the 15th to the 19th. It’s not an 82 game schedule but at least it will give a true test for a conference winner from both West and East. Out of conference games are the one really lost in this shortened season. It should give a true galvanized winner from both conferences to battle it out. Lord Stanley has been waiting long enough. Time to drop the puck and decide who wants it the most.