The NHL Lockout Is Over But I’m Still Bitter
The NHL and NHLPA have reached an agreement on a new 10 year CBA, and I can’t help but have mixed feelings about it.
On one side, I’m thrilled that the NHL is back and I can’t wait for the season to start. On the other hand, I’m pissed that these idiots threw away four months of hockey, and I know they’ve done irreparable damage. Are people in Canada, New York, Boston, and Detroit happy that the NHL lockout has ended? Of course. Are people in Nashville, Phoenix, Florida, and Carolina happy that the lockout ended? I’m sure some people are, but I’m also sure that a lot of people have completely forgotten about hockey.
Think about it, when the NFL and NBA were experiencing lockouts last season, American sports fans were furious. There was an unbelievable amount of pressure on the NFL and NBA to resolve their disputes because the public demanded it. The NHL did not face that same kind of pressure. In fact, when you compare the amount of media coverage between the NFL lockout and the NHL lockout, it’s laughable.
Here’s the other thing, the NHL has had three lockouts in 17 years, and that’s absolutely ridiculous. During the lockout of 2004, I was a hardcore hockey fan that was gutted when the season was cancelled. This time around I had an attitude of contempt. Instead of desperately wanting the lockout to end, a big part of me wanted to see these idiots sink themselves. Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr have fought over hundreds of millions of dollars for over 100 days, but what they failed to realize is that the money they were squabbling over might not be there when they returned.
Here’s something else to consider, during the 2011-12 season the NHL had everything go right. They received extra media attention due to the NFL and NBA lockouts, and teams in important markets were successful. Phoenix had a great season, Los Angeles won the Stanley Cup, Florida made the playoffs, and New York won the Eastern Conference. All that success and goodwill is now forgotten. Honestly, a big part of me hopes that fans don’t show up to watch games because that’s what the NHL deserves.
For NHL fans, this lockout has played out like a girlfriend that keeps leaving her sucker boyfriend, only to return a few days later because she can. Just when fans are told things will work out, the rug gets pulled out. At the end of the day the fans have been cheated and both the NHL and NHLPA look like complete morons.
Here are the details of the new CBA according to TSN…
– 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.