Sports Outside the Beltway

The NHL Lockout is over

The most idiotic labor dispute in sports history appears to have ended. From ESPN-

A tentative agreement has been reached between the NHL and the players’ association.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr stood side by side in the early hours of Sunday morning to announce there was a framework in place for a new collective bargaining agreement.

Bettman and Fehr didn’t join hands and sing Kumbaya together.

The deal still requires majority approval from both the board of governors — as early as Tuesday — and the NHLPA membership before it can become official.

The tentative agreement is a 10-year deal with a mutual opt-out clause after eight years and includes contract term limits at seven years (eight years for a team to re-sign its own players), a source confirmed to

“I am happy deal has been reached and excited to get back to playing hockey,” Penguins star Sidney Crosby said in an email.

For the first year, the salary cap is $60 million but teams can spend up to $70.2 million in the transition period, while the floor is $44 million.

Sources said the 2013-14 salary cap, a very divisive issue, will be $64.3 million, while the floor will remain at $44 million.

Contract salary variance is capped at 35 percent from year to year, with the provision that the last year can’t vary more than 50 percent from the highest-salaried year, a source told

Revenue sharing will spread $200 million, with a $60 million NHLPA-initiated growth fund included.

The players did well after the last CBA was agreed to, and I expect the same result this time around. I think some owners may benefit also but the NHL has at least one team with severe financial problems and a couple more possibly waiting in the wings. This labor dispute cost the team owners millions and I wouldn’t be surprised if there is fallout from it.

Why did this dispute take four months to resolve? It came down to personalities, the owners don’t like Fehr and both sides complained and whined about the other instead of playing hockey. I’m a die hard Florida Panthers fan who can count the televised games involving the cats over the last five years that they have missed watching on one hand. Right now I have very little enthusiasm for a shortened bogus season.

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