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Sunday, January 6, 2013

LOCKOUT OVER - GAME ON!

NEW YORK - After six long months of negotiations, it took one extremely long night to get the NHL out of the boardroom and back on the ice.

A tentative deal to end the 113-day NHL lockout was reached early Sunday morning following a marathon 16-hour negotiating session.

"We have reached an agreement on the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement, the details of which need to be put to paper,'' NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told a news conference. "We've got to dot a lot of i's and cross a lot of t's. There's still a lot of work to be done but the basic framework of the deal has been agreed upon.''

Before the new CBA officially comes into effect, it must be ratified by a majority of both the league's 30 owners and the union's membership of approximately 740 players. There is no word when those votes will take place.

"Hopefully we're at a place where all those things will proceed fairly rapidly and with some dispatch,'' said Donald Fehr, executive director of the NHL Players' Association. "We'll get back to business as usual just as fast as we can.''

Neither side has announced details of the deal - which came together with the help of U.S. federal mediator Scot Beckenbaugh - but according to a source, it's a 10-year agreement with an opt-out option after eight years.

It also includes defined benefit pensions for the players as well as a $64.3-million salary cap in 2013-14.

Other highlights, according to a source, include a seven-year contract term limit for free agents and eight years for players re-signing with the same team. The deal also includes a 35 per cent yearly variance in salary and no more than 50 per cent difference between any two seasons.

The participation of NHLers in future Olympics will be made outside of the CBA.

"Everyone is obviously relieved that it's over and done with, for all intents and purposes, and we're able to kind of move on to what we kind of enjoy doing a lot more than this,'' said Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan, who was involved in the negotiations.

It's not clear when the season will start or how many games will be played, though Winnipeg Jets defenceman Ron Hainsey - also a key figure in the negotiations - said he expects it to be 48 or 50 games.

The league was on the verge of cancelling a second season due to a work stoppage. The two sides were working against the clock after Bettman set a deadline of Jan. 11 to get a deal done to save a shortened season.

"It was a battle,'' said Hainsey. "Gary said a month ago it was a tough negotiation and that's what it was. The players obviously would rather not have been here but our focus now is to give the fans whatever it is - 48 games, 50 games - the most exciting season we can.''

Hainsey said the pension ended up being a key component of the agreement.

"I don't think there's any doubt that the pension is the centrepiece of this deal for the players,'' said Hainsey.

The lockout will cost the league around 500 regular-season games, depending on whether there is a 48- or 50-game season, but the most important number probably won't be revealed for at least 18 months. The NHL was coming off seven years of record revenues when the last CBA expired, hitting a high-water mark of US$3.3-billion last season, and it remains to be seen how quickly fans and sponsors will return when the puck is dropped again.

After all, many hoped the league's lockout cycle would be broken when the entire 2004-05 season was cancelled to get a salary cap. But it turned out the shared history of the parties, which also includes a strike in 1992 and a lockout in 1994-95, was too much to overcome.

Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby, who is desperate to return to the ice after dealing with concussion issues over the last couple years, said he was happy to hear the news.

"It's exciting to know we will be back playing hockey,'' he told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

© 2013 The Canadian Press

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

YES!!!

If anyone doesn't want their NHL tickets because they are pouting about the lockout, I will gladly take them!!

Greatest game ever!

Anonymous said...

Thank god this silly dispute is over. Now I won’t have to hear breaking news every time someone breaks wind.

5 weeks left in the NFL season and then MLB gets underway. Who needs this NHL stuff!

Anonymous said...

who cares....

Anonymous said...

exactly.... who cares

Anonymous said...

wooo!! Welcome Back!!

EdsStuff said...

Whoopee , now we can watch the babies fight over a piece of rubber.

Anonymous said...

Who cares? I tried telling myself that I didn't care a month back when negotiations hit rock bottom. But I love hockey and I want to see it played at the highest level. Glad to see the NHL back and hopefully this garbage never happens again. Plus it gets the ordinary average joes and janes who were unemployed cause of this back to work.

Oh yeah, Merry Ukrainian Christmas there Rod Pedersenski!


Rex

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with Anons 2, 3, and 4.
I couldn't care less if I tried.

Anonymous said...

To all you "anonymous" folks commenting that you don't care.....do you go out of your way to comment that you don't care on all news stories that you don't care about?? Are you seeking out blogs talking about Idle No More and voicing your disdain? Are you commenting your disinterest elsewhere that the Vikings lost last night? Does everyone know that you don't give a crap that some vending machines won't accept the new $20 bill?
If not, then keep your pointless opinion to yourself cuz we don't care that you don't care and your comment has added no value to this blog or to its readers.
If, however, you don't care and you post something intelligent to support your opinion - feel free.
But simple "I don't care" is useless.

Anonymous said...

Now its up to the fans to relay their disdain and "sit out" the first night of the season. I would love to see completely empty arenas around the league opening night.

After that "I don't care..."

Anonymous said...

what do u mean ull see empty rinks in dallas & carolina anyways lol

Anonymous said...

Now we can get back to the business of hockey. Players giving each other concussions and teams in stupid locations.
Well, it's off to find another blog to comment on because I Don't Care.
You happy now anon #9

Anonymous said...

Don't care! There are better things to do with my life than watch a bunch of over-rated millionaires who couldn't care less about their fans.

Anonymous said...

I agree, it doesn't mater anymore. Noticed I haven't missed the NHL much. Waiting for more football news and betting on NBA now.

Anonymous said...

Where are the comments about how the poor Owners put up all the risk therefore the Players should take what they can get from a $3.3 Billion pie?

Well evidently the Players don't have to just sit and take it because they got everything and more they were asking for.

Anonymous said...

If you're really p---ed at the NHL and want to try to affect things, but realize that not going to Calgary or Edmonton or Phoenix for a NHL game really isn't going to amount to much (although it's a start), start avoiding anything advertised on hockey. An ad for Molson Canadian? Buy another brand. Write an email to Molson telling them why. If that type of behaviour ever caught on, the owners and players would feel it, Phoenix still goes broke and maybe they'd all smarten up.

Anonymous said...

And if you decide to write letters to Molson or are that angry my suggestion is you find a nice Psychologist to have a conversation with.

Anonymous said...

To the anonymous poster asking the other anon posters saying " I dont care", its their freespeech, and they can thats why. Next question?

Anonymous said...

wonder who the first suspension will be? for hitting someone to hard!! or even my god a fight!! turn the league into Rec hockey!! u wouldnt want to get a hang nail on one of these millionaires!! Do themselves a favour and cut the teams back to 20 teams and 60 games a year , then maybe they might play the whole year .....

Anonymous said...

Psychologists have real proems to deal with.

Anonymous said...

T-12 days to the first HNIC broadcast!

Hearing analysts actually talk about hockey and watching clips of uniformed players rather than dudes in suits in lobbies and on sidewalks has me giddy. I wanted to hate the NHL at least for this season but whatever. I like hockey. I'll gladly tune in.

Go Oilers!

Anonymous said...

Bettman must leave this game never to be heard from again for the benefit of the NHL Immediately.His Insistent vision of non viable market locals and ensuing misjudgement decision Is a disgrace of a world renowned sports professional business entity, case closed.

BobD said...

For those of you dropping out of the NHL solar system, congratulations, but what took you so long. I dropped out after the last one in 2004 and don't miss it at all. Junior hockey is good enough for me.

To the poster about Bettman having to go, you are dead on. He could bring the league down all on his own. Just a very bad decision to hire him and not fire him.