Some, including myself, had doubted this day would come, this season, but the Lockout is over. In the early morning hours this morning, a tentative deal was reached between the spoiled players, including the Hawks Jamal Mayers, and the greedy owners. Per TSN and ESPN the new CBA includes the following details:
The players' share of hockey-related revenue will drop from 57 percent to a 50-50 split for all 10 years.
The league coming off their demand for a $60 million cap in Year 2, meeting the NHLPA's request to have it at $64.3 million - which was the upper limit from last year's cap. The salary floor in Year 2 will be $44 million.
The upper limit on the salary cap in the first year is $60 million, but teams can spend up to $70.2 million (all pro-rated). The cap floor will be $44 million.
The 10-year deal also has an opt-out clause that kicks in after eight years.
Each team will be allowed two amnesty buyouts that can be used to terminate contracts after this season and next season. The buyouts will count against the players' overall share in revenues, but not the team's salary cap.
The salary variance on contracts from year to year cannot vary more than 35 per cent and the final year cannot vary more than 50 per cent of the highest year.
A player contract term limit for free agents will be seven years and eight years for a team signing its own player.
The draft lottery selection process will change with all 14 teams fully eligible for the first overall pick. The weighting system for each team may remain, but four-spot move restriction will be eliminated.
Supplemental discipline for players in on-ice incidents will go through NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan first, followed by an appeal process that would go through Bettman. For suspensions of six or more games, a neutral third party will decide if necessary.
Revenue sharing among teams will spread to $200 million. Additionally, an NHLPA-initiated growth fund of $60 million is included.
Teams can only walk away from a player in salary arbitration if the award is at least $3.5 million.
The NHL had hoped to change opening of free agency to July 10, but the players stood firm and it remains July 1 in the new agreement. But with a later ending to the season, free agency for this summer will start at a later date.
Also, a decision on NHL participation at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games will be made outside of the new CBA. While it is likely that the league will participate, the IIHF and IOC will have discussions with the NHL and Players' Association.
The agreement will have to be formally voted on, and the document will have to be drafted, but it's safe to say that within the next two weeks games will start.
What does this mean? Sloppy hockey, and a large number of out of shape players. Ones that didn't take their services overseas or to the AHL will be behind the curve. Hello Adrian Aucoin!
For me, this will mean two things that aren't much of an adjustment from the last 100 plus days and I encourage all fans to do the same, even though I know most won't.
First of all, I will NOT buy any licensed NHL merchandise. This will be hard, because I have two small children that would look darling in some Blackhawks gear. For at least this season, the NHL can tickle my taint.
Second, I will NOT pay to go to an NHL game. If I come across free tickets, I will go, but I'm not paying a single dollar out of my pocket after this fucking ridiculous charade.
Most fans will go about their business, as if nothing happened, but there are alternatives. Fans can watch games from local bars in the area, to give them back business, and boost profits. Fans should continue to support the AHL, because they brought a product to hockey fans while the lockout was toiling on.
I can hold a vengeance, as my almost decade long boycott of Dollar Bill Wirtz, so I'm sticking by my guns with this. The league and players stuck to theirs, so it's the least I can do. Call me a curmudgeon, but I'm still not exactly thrilled with the situation.
More to come, but lets hope that this is the beginning of the end for Gary Bettman.