It’s day two into the next stage of this lockout waiting game as fans, media, players, and everyone employed by NHL franchises anxiously await getting back to the real deal. A tentative CBA was struck by the two negotiating parties around 5AM ET on Sunday, January 6 as we hit day 113 of the lockout.
Make no mistake, we are technically still in said lockout. The only difference is that now a framework is in place to bring an end to the back and forth we’ve suffered through the past four months.
A couple of highlights from the new CBA framework:
- 10 year CBA ending on Sept 15, 2022. Option for mutual opt-out after 8 years.
- Owners and players split HRR 50-50, players will receive $300 million in deferred “make whole” payments.
- Salary floor set at $44 million, cap of $64.3 million for next season.
- 7 year limit on free-agent contracts (8 if signing with your own team).
- Each team gets 2 “amnesty buyouts”
- Annual revenue sharing between teams is now $200 million.
Over the next few days the CBA will need to be ratified by the players’ association and the owners before coaches and management can be in contact with team members. Until then, it’s business as usual for those who have been hosting their own informal skates in preparation for their true call to action.
I’ve been attending the Blackhawks informal practices for the past few weeks now, and I have to say, there was a noticeable sense of urgency at practice today. Not to say those present had ever been slacking, but the speed of practice and extended effort and attention of everyone on the ice was hard to miss. This is it. The final days before it’s back to work.
Sources indicate that we are looking at either a January 15 or January 19 start date for a 48 or 50 game schedule. No schedules have been released as of yet (lookout for those late this week after CBA signed) and best guesses point to plenty of division rivalry play and possibly all 30 teams in action day 1.