Sep 4, 2011, 9:00 AM EST
This has not been an easy summer for the NHL by any means. Perhaps the post-Game 7 Vancouver riots acted as an ominous introduction for months in which most of the biggest stories were negative. From more manageable headaches like Drew Doughty‘s contract holdout situation to stomach-churning issues such as Sidney Crosby‘s battle with post-concussion syndrome and the troubling series of enforcer deaths, the notion that next season cannot come soon enough takes on added meaning in 2011.
Yet as bad as things have been lately, next summer could be foreboding in its own right for a reason few of us even want to consider: the possibility of another lockout. The league seems like it’s in much, much better shape heading into the summer of 2012 than it did going into the summer of 2004, but the fear is there since the Collective Bargaining Agreement will expire.
The good news is that the NHL isn’t likely to shoot for enormous changes like instituting a salary cap or attempting to radically improve the style of play (among other alterations that the damaging 2004-05 lockout gave way to). That doesn’t mean that the league and its players association won’t be locked in some tough battles, though.
Tony Gallagher took a look at some of the hot button issues that will likely be discussed next summer as the parties try to hash out another CBA. It’s a piece worth reading from top to bottom, but PHT will take a look at some of the most interesting bits.
Let’s start things off on two issues that might have an impact on the league’s poorest teams.
In speaking to a number of informed people around the league on both sides of the fence, it’s clear that one of the league’s biggest problems within the present agreement is the obligation to enforce a floor on the genuinely pathetic franchises around the league.
The teams that have been losing money and crying wolf for the past 10 years are now being forced to pay out in the neighbourhood of US$45 million, which is forcing them into a position of losing money in some cases, and the league will be looking toward either lowering the floor or eliminating it altogether. That is something the players will likely vigorously defend.
The Torontos, Montreals and Vancouvers keep handing over money to the same dud franchises year after year with the question being whether that will continue to be the case, and if so, will that pool of money increase or decrease? And how will it be comprised going forward.
A particularly wrangling issue is all playoff teams having to contribute one-third of all revenue sharing from their first-round take, a system that actually rewards franchises (most notably Toronto) for missing the playoffs.
That’s the interesting thing about the current CBA; there are provisions that both hurt and help the league’s less successful teams. (Then again, the high cap floor/playoff revenue sharing combo might have the worst impact on not-so-deep-pocketed clubs like the Nashville Predators, who use their guile more often than big pay checks to make the playoffs.) To make things fair, the league probably wouldn’t want to eliminate the salary cap floor without keeping a minimum payroll for teams who want to benefit from shared revenue.
Naturally, the big money questions will be the biggest sticking points. The other major money matter is guaranteed contracts (and owners’ urges to do away with them). Considering the dangers involved in the sport, it would be a hard sell to roll back guarantees. After all, who’s going to want to risk breaking a bone by blocking a shot if they could lose their job shortly afterward?
Gallagher’s most interesting point comes late in the article, where he claims that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA head Donald Fehr have already won some big labor battles in their day, so they might be more willing to avoid a big standoff. It would be great if that ends up being true, but we’ll need to wait and see if that bit of sunshine turns out to be the light at the end of a (hopefully short) negotiating tunnel or just an example of an incorrect but educated guess.
Jan 28, 2015, 7:30 PM EST
They’ll take on Chicago at Staples.
Jan 28, 2015, 7:00 PM EST
Pens captain returns after missing Tuesday’s win over Winnipeg.
Jan 28, 2015, 6:30 PM EST
Rivalry night on NBCSN.
Jan 28, 2015, 5:55 PM EST
Is expected to be released today.
Jan 28, 2015, 5:21 PM EST
Sharks, Ducks, Kings, Flames, and Oilers will all have their affiliates in the west next season.
Jan 28, 2015, 4:44 PM EST
That’s a picture of Milwaukee.
Jan 28, 2015, 3:02 PM EST
The Los Angeles Kings are bad at the shootout, and the Buffalo Sabres are good at it.
Jan 28, 2015, 2:15 PM EST
News and notes from around the crease…
Jan 28, 2015, 1:51 PM EST
An incident against Philly on Jan. 19 was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Jan 28, 2015, 1:39 PM EST
Chris Stewart remains a member of the worst team in the NHL.
Jan 28, 2015, 1:39 PM EST
“We’re not giving up on him at all.”
Jan 28, 2015, 1:16 PM EST
Someone check the water in Columbus.
Jan 28, 2015, 1:11 PM EST
“That was a team with tremendous character, with great coaches, great players and quality individuals. “
Jan 28, 2015, 12:51 PM EST
Habs’ d-man was tossed from Tuesday night’s game.
Jan 28, 2015, 11:52 AM EST
“It shouldn’t be a part of hockey,” said Canucks captain Henrik Sedin.
Jan 28, 2015, 11:51 AM EST
Could be bad news. Could be good. All depends who you cheer for.
Jan 28, 2015, 11:33 AM EST
Boston d-man has struggled this season, but could be on the move by Mar. 2.
Jan 28, 2015, 11:17 AM EST
Los Angeles is currently out of the West’s top eight.
Jan 28, 2015, 11:16 AM EST
“Show up to your job, and you’re off suspension.”
Jan 28, 2015, 11:08 AM EST
Jim Rutherford, really working the phones.
- Isles’ Clutterbuck latest to be fined for diving 15
- No hearing scheduled for Kesler after ‘dirty play’ on Dorsett 21
- Why NHL fans — no matter where they live — should care about the plunging Canadian dollar 32
- Trade: Pens acquire Lapierre from Blues for Goc 62
- Video: Habs’ Emelin ejected for hit on Stars’ Spezza 30
- Martin Brodeur to retire, become Blues asst. GM (Updated) 41
- Mike Richards clears waivers 32
- Game on: Islanders-Rangers to be played despite storm 15
- Flyers’ Rinaldo suspended eight games for his hit on Letang 57
- Isles’ rise to be tested as they lose Okposo for 6-8 weeks 17