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.
Nov 23, 2014, 12:01 AM EST
These teams play against Dec. 27.
Nov 22, 2014, 11:23 PM EST
Struggling is an understatement.
Nov 22, 2014, 10:56 PM EST
Meanwhile, Edmonton at risk of losing six straight.
Nov 22, 2014, 10:26 PM EST
Nov 22, 2014, 9:56 PM EST
New York takes both games of home-and-home set with Pittsburgh.
Nov 22, 2014, 9:23 PM EST
Difficult news for Washington.
Nov 22, 2014, 9:13 PM EST
Nov 22, 2014, 8:53 PM EST
Dealt with injury last season.
Nov 22, 2014, 8:32 PM EST
Fight didn’t last long.
Nov 22, 2014, 8:17 PM EST
“This is the biggest thing I’ve ever seen in my life with Toronto.”
Nov 22, 2014, 7:38 PM EST
Dallas has moved a trio of blue liners recently.
Nov 22, 2014, 7:09 PM EST
“Let the referees do their job, we’ll do our job.”
Nov 22, 2014, 6:31 PM EST
The St. Louis defender had an assist on the eventual winner.
Nov 22, 2014, 5:55 PM EST
Conflicting ideas on whether it was a fight or not.
Nov 22, 2014, 5:27 PM EST
In the rain, too, apparently.
Nov 22, 2014, 4:55 PM EST
“They embarrassed us pretty good in their building.”
Nov 22, 2014, 3:29 PM EST
He’s out Saturday, for sure.
Nov 22, 2014, 2:50 PM EST
A fun way to mislead people about Cory Schneider’s workhorse run.
Nov 22, 2014, 1:55 PM EST
NHL makes it official.
Nov 22, 2014, 1:36 PM EST
Not a lot of good news in Edmonton.
- Video: Milan Lucic calls Dalton Prout one-punch ‘gutless’ 0
- ‘We did not want to disrespect our fans’: Leafs salute supporters after beating Red Wings 3
- Video: Demers sends Stoll flying with massive open-ice hit 6
- Don Cherry on Leafs not saluting fans: ‘I couldn’t believe these guys would do something like this’ 12
- Report: Dan Hamhuis’ injury is significant, but not season-ending 5
- Been there, done that: Oilers lose five straight for second time this season 10
- Prout drops Lucic: ‘As far as I was concerned we were engaged in a fight’ 82
- Video: Prout drops Lucic with one punch 43
- NHL grants Kings cap relief for Voynov, who’s still suspended indefinitely 31
- Trade: Stars get Demers from Sharks, send Dillon to San Jose 18
- Prout drops Lucic: ‘As far as I was concerned we were engaged in a fight’ (82)
- The Leafs didn’t salute their fans last night, so that’s a thing now (78)
- Jack Johnson filed for bankruptcy, parents allegedly took advantage of him (58)
- Wild put Harding on waivers (Updated) (52)
- After Voynov suspension, Lombardi wonders if teams need a ‘cushion’ in case a player is a ‘bank robber, kleptomaniac’ (51)