4 long months - give or take a few days. It looks like the lockout is finally over and the NHL and NHLPA have reached a tentative deal today.
"Don Fehr and I are here to tell you that 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 said. "We have to dot a lot of I's and cross a lot of T's. There is still a lot of work to be done, but the basic framework has been agreed upon. We have to go through a ratification process and the Board of Governors has to approve it from the League side and, obviously, the players have to approve it as well. We are not in a position to give you information right now about schedule, when we are starting. It's early in the morning and we have been at this all day and all night, obviously. But, we will be back to you very shortly, hopefully, later today with more information in that regard."
The deal still has to be ratified but here are some of the tentative details:
• A pro-rated salary cap of $70.2-million for the shortened 2012-13 season followed by a salary cap of $64.3-million in 2013-14. The salary floor will be set at $44-million for both years.
• Seven-year limit on free-agent contracts (eight-year limit when a team signs its own player to an extension).
• A maximum salary variance of 35% from year to year, with no more than a 50% total difference between any two seasons in the contract.
• Teams can only walk away from a player in salary arbitration who is awarded at least $3.5-million.
• Each team will be given the option of two "amnesty buyouts" that can be used to terminate contracts prior to the 2013-14 season or 2014-15 season. The buyouts will cost two-thirds of the remaining amount on a deal – paid evenly over twice its remaining length – and will count against the players’ overall share in revenues, but not the individual team’s salary cap.
• Revenue sharing between teams increased to $200-million annually.
• Unrestricted free agency continues to open on July 1.
• The participation of NHLers in future Olympics has yet to be determined. The decision will be made outside of the CBA.
So how do you feel about this news? Excited? Still pissed off? Indifferent?