The NHL and the NHL Players' Association reached a tentative deal Sunday morning that is expected to be ratified later in the week.
The NHL lockout appears to be over. The New York Times and others are reporting that a tentative deal was reached around 5:00 AM on Sunday. The agreement needs to be formally written, then ratified by both the owners and the players. That is expected to happen by Wednesday, the planned start of training camps. The actual start date and schedule is yet to be determined, though a 48 or 50-game season is expected. The Panthers had approximately forty games left following the expected start dates of January 15 to 20, so the schedule will be quite a bit more densely packed than it would have been. According to the Times, the Stanley Cup is expected to be awarded by the end of June.
Federal mediator Scot Beckenbaugh was seen as a critical part of the final negotiations. He spent twelve hours yesterday alternately working with each side before bringing them together to finish the deal.
The Times reports a few details of the deal: this CBA will last ten years with an opt-out after eight. The cap will drop to $64.3 million next season, and the revenue split is around 50-50. As expected, player contract lengths will now be limited, to seven years or eight years if a team is re-signing its own player. Front-loaded deals will also be disallowed. A contract price can't vary by more than 35% a year and the lowest year can only be 50% of the highest. Congratulations to Craig Leipold, who helped wipe out half a season of NHL hockey so he could get rid of the kind of contracts he gave to his two newest players, Ryan Suter and Zach Parise.
As soon as more details are released on the CBA, training camps, and the start of the season, we'll be here to bring the news.