I saw the news that the NHL Lockout was over when I logged into Nucks Misconduct late this morning. Had I stayed up an hour later last night I would have broke the news myself. I was in a numbing state of disbelief when I saw the news. Of course, it was looking positive yesterday with the mediator present and both sides having a marathon discussion. Hell, the Minnesota Wild even pulled their star prospect Mikael Granlund off his AHL team roster just in case. Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos had a source tell him that a deal was likely in the next 24 hours, and his source was right.
I think the reality set in when I went to TSN to check it out. What was on the page at lunch today besides the lockout being over? The Maple Leafs' goaltending woes and how Roberto Luongo would be a good fit there. In fact, Luongo's face is pretty much plastered over any mainstream NHL hockey website. did time fly by that quickly? It does not feel like all that long ago that we were contemplating Roberto going to Toronto or Florida. Ah....the fun begins! The Luongo talk isn't heating up...it's already hot. Darren Pang is suggesting that the Panthers will pursue him because they know he wants to play there. I still have my doubts that they will ever offer us what we want. In fact, at this point, no team has offered Mike Gillis what he wants in return. We will get more into Luongo trade discussion soon enough, but I thought I would provide some soundbytes, quotes and whatnot that were floating around the web today in regards to some of the changes to the CNA, scheduling, reactions and more.
Here we go:
@Real_ESPNLeBrun: Further to what I reported earlier today, confirmed now that NHL's Board of Governors meeting is Wednesday in NYC (to vote on new agreement)
Real_ESPNLeBrun Pierre LeBrun
NHL sent out memo to teams tonight saying Jan 19 puck drop is most probable, however if ratification process goes fast, Jan 15 still in play.
If they drop the puck on the 19th, I believe that will mean a 48 game NHL season.
-The big solved issues of the new CBA:
1. The new CBA is 10 years in duration with an 8-year opt-out. I would like to thank Gary Bettman for standing firm on that one. Longer is better for fans.
2. The salary cap next season drops to $64.3 million, down from $70.2 million. The players budged a lot on this one. They started their demands at $70 million and then came down drastically over the past week. The NHL started at $60 million. It is going to be interesting to see how this plays out for our Vancouver Canucks, who have the 3rd highest spending in the NHL right now (behind Boston and Minnesota). Manny Malhotra, Chris Higgins, Maxim Lapierre, Mason Raymond, and Alexander Edler are among the 8 players that become unrestricted free agents this coming summer. The face of the Canucks landscape is going to significantly change. It's unfortunate.
3. In regards to #2, teams will have 2 compliance buyouts before the 2013-14 season in order to get under that new salary cap. That in itself is going to be fun to watch. It's also sad that it had to come to this, since agents, players and team GM's / ownership overpaid mediocre players for too long. It's cleaning up a mess.
4. How do I word this? Player contract values cannot exceed 35% value year to year and cannot vary over 50% of the highest value. This means that the Luongo - type contracts will no longer happen under this new CBA. While I enjoyed the cap space Gillis created by that long Luongo deal, the whole concept needed to be squashed, right Minnesota? But hey congrats on getting Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to those crazy deals before the new CBA kicked in.
5. Teams can sign players to a maximum 7-year deal, 8 years if it a player that they drafted and nurtured. The NHL budged big on this one because when they threw a hissy fit weeks ago, they said the 5 year limit was a mountain they would die on. Posturing in front of the media. I get it. Anyway, the players wanted 8 years, so here was a concession by the NHL. Give and take. This rule also kills the Lou-type contracts.
6. I was reading somewhere that teams could have talks with UFA's a week prior to July 1. Interesting.
7. Another cool concept, as Pierre LeBrun pointed out today is that all 14 teams that miss the playoffs will get a crack at the #1 pick in the draft lottery. Good. And fuck you, Pittsburgh. Anyone who remembers how they fared in this concept last lockout will know what I am talking about.
OK, back to more quotes.
More from lucky Pierre:
Real_ESPNLeBrun Pierre LeBrun
NHL is proposing April 5 trade deadline regardless of start date. But NHLPA and NHL still haven't agreed on critical dates. So we'll see ...
-Roberto Luongo talks lockout ending, trade talk and the TSN panel analyzes here at TSN (Video).
Mike Gillis on the hole left at center with Ryan Kesler's absence:
"We’ve got a surplus of forwards and (Jordan) Schroeder has played very well the last two weeks in Chicago and there are multiple options we have, including an unconventional one of moving another player to centre ice," added Gillis. "There’s going to be a lot of (trade) activity once the (CBA) deal gets ratified and teams try to plan. We’ll see what comes our way."
"Those guys in Europe, people think they’re going to be in game shape and have an edge (over) guys who stuck around here and trained, but we feel we’re going to be fresher for the end of the season," added Bieksa. "TIme will tell. The games at the start will probably be more sloppy than usual and a lot of mistakes, which will probably lead to more goals and great plays.
"There’s obviously a lot of built-up energy and rage, so the first few games will be interesting."
That from the Province.