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  • With tentative deal, 113-day lockout ends Print
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    Written by Blake Benzel   
    Sunday, 06 January 2013 11:09

    After a 16-hour negotiationg session, Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr announced on Sunday morning that they had agreed to the framework for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement to end the 113-day NHL lockout.

    And just like that, it was over – at least, tentatively.

    After a marathon bargaining session lasting 16 hours, just before 5 a.m. on Jan. 6, the NHL and NHLPA agreed to the framework of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) to end the 113-day lockout that wiped out the entire 2012 portion of the 2012-13 NHL season.

    “Don Fehr and I are here to tell you that we have reached an agreement on the framework of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters in a joint announcement with Fehr. “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.”

    Bettman went on to explain that the new CBA must be ratified by the NHL’s Board of Governors and is also subject to the players’ approval, as well – a process that should start later today.

    Even with the few steps left to go – steps that many will likely refer to as formalities – this is terrific news for both the league, which was embroiled in its third lockout since the 1994-95 season, and its fans and this point was reached, in large part, because of federal mediator Scot Beckenbaugh.

    Beckenbaugh spent much of his time on Friday and Saturday walking the mile or so between the two sides’ hotels, trying to bring the two together. It undoubtedly was tiring work, but work that now has nearly every hockey pundit and fan trumpeting the employee of the Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service (FCMS) as the MVP of the lockout.

    “I want to recognize the extraordinary contribution that my colleague, Scot Beckenbaugh, Deputy Director for Mediation Services, made in providing herculean assistance of the highest caliber to the parties throughout the most critical periods in the negotiations,” FCMS director George Cohen said in a statement.

    It was likely Beckenbaugh’s contributions that allowed the two sides to bridge the seemingly insurmountable gap that sat between them and, ultimately, bring them together for the negotiations on Saturday and Sunday that would eventually find the framework built.

    Details regarding this framework are still scant, but a few things are becoming clear.

    The salary cap for the 2013-14 season will be the same as it was for the 2011-12 season -- $64.3 million – and the cap floor will be $44 million. According to Chris Johnston, a pro-rated salary cap of $70.2 million will be in effect this season.

    There will be now be a cap on contract length, with teams being able to sign their own free agents to eight-year contracts and other free agents to seven-year contracts.

    In addition to this, according to Puck Daddy, the CBA also addresses the enormous cap-circumventing contracts that were being doled out. It agrees to a 35-percent variance in pay from year-to-year, but no more than a 50-percent variance throughout the term of the contract.

    Also, teams will be allowed two amnesty buyouts starting next season to be used to terminate contracts prior to the 2013-14 season or the 2014-15 season. These buyouts will not count against the salary cap, but will count against the players’ overall revenue share.

    It is important to note that we are not out of the weeds yet. The “formalities” of ratification by the NHLPA and Board of Governors still looms. But, for right now, it’s okay for fans of the NHL to get a little excited. 

    Photos by Getty Images

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    Last Updated on Sunday, 06 January 2013 11:20