After almost five months of theater, name-calling, backstabbing and complete nonsense from a league, commissioner and players’ union that participated in its third lockout in 17 years, we will have hockey. The sport.
At around 4:45 a.m., at some hotel in New York, where myriad hockey writers and reporters were camped out like poor people waiting outside Best Buy for a $200 TV on Black Friday, Gary Bettman, his world-low Q rating, and Donald Fehr told reporters about sunshine and roses: a new CBA.
They didn’t give any details on the deal (we’ll have a few in a second, though I’d posit that most of you don’t care about most of them). The new CBA still needs to be put to paper, and owners and players need to officially vote on its terms, something that will likely happen on Monday or Tuesday.
Reports are that there will be either a 48 or 50-game season that will start on January 15 or 19. No exhibition games. That means there are less than two weeks for players to reconvene (SOMEONE GET ME MY FUCKING DUCK WHISTLE!), teams to round out rosters, and for regular season Flyers hockey to begin. Excitement. Really.
We’re all undoubtedly very pissed off about the lockout. But, right now, after nearly a full year of ineptitude, disappointment, underachieving, injuries and Andrew Bynum, Philadelphia sorely needs its best positioned to win a championship team. We sorely need Peter Laviolette screaming obscenities into the stuffy, ammonia-smelling Wells Fargo Center air. And we sorely need quotes like this one from Claude Giroux, via Frank Seravalli of the Daily News:
“This is the best wake up call I’ve ever had,” Flyers star Claude Giroux told the Daily News early Sunday morning. “It’s good to see that the game is back.”
Hey there, guy. I really missed you. You go talk to your friends, talk to my friends, talk to me… because we are totally getting back together.
- The players' share of hockey-related revenue will drop from 57 percent to a 50-50 split for all 10 years.
- The salary cap for this first year will be around $60 million, but teams can spend up to $70.2 million.
- According to CapGeek, the Flyers already have $66 million committed for this season, but that includes over $4 million to Chris Pronger, who will no doubt be put on injured reserve and have his salary come off the books. So, around $62 million– which means they’ll have som flexibility.
- The league came off their demand for a $60 million cap in 2013-2014, 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.
- More good news: Each team will have two amnesties (which is English for Ilya Bryzgalov) to buy players out of their current contracts, for around two-thirds of what remains on a player's deal, so they can get to a more manageable cap number. Those amnesties can’t be used for the remainder of this season, but it sounds like one each will be available this offseason and next, or both must be used this summer– there are conflicting reports.
- Contracts will be limited to seven years, salaries can’t vary by more than 35% in any year and the lowest year of a deal can’t dip below 50% of the highest year (this puts a stop to those goofy, long-term contracts that paid players into their 40s to minimize cap hits).
- No divisional realignment next year.
- No agreement yet on whether players can play in 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
We will, obviously, have much more in the next few weeks. Keep it here for nonstop coverage of the return of the players, the Flyers rounding out their roster, the team’s schedule, and the start of this shortened season. To get you in the mood, here’s a message to the Pittsburgh Penguins from Max Talbot, who jokingly gave reader James the finger while at the Revel last night:
Video of Bettman and Fehr giving the announcement, after the jump.