The NHL and the NHL Player's Association reached a basic framework of a new 10-year contract early Sunday morning. The deal allows the league to avoid a second cancelled season since 2004-'05.
This is a both sides won, both sides lost deal. Part of me wanted to see the whole thing cancelled again, just for sport.
This deal should allow for roughly a one-week training camp and 48-game regular season. Do not expect to see any games between Eastern and Western Conference teams. Those specific details about the schedule, however, have yet to be worked out.
Some specifics as Dallas Stars fan, assuming there are any left, may be interested in:
* According to TSN.ca, the NHL salary cap will be $64.3 million next season. This is not quite as low as some of the owners, say Tom Gaglardi, of the Stars wanted but it's not in the $70 million range.
* Player contracts for free agents will be seven and eight years for team signing its own player. This will prevent the 10 to 15 year deals that are stupidly being handed out these days.
* The use of NHL players in the 2014 Winter Olympics will be made outside of the negotiation. Expect the league to participate in the Olympics, but the agreement will be between the IIHF and the IOC.
The lockout lasted 113 days and killed more than half the regular season.
The game returns, but how much damage has this work stoppage done?
The league has become so niche based it's going to be hard to tell. The die hards will always come back, as will Canada, but every time you don't play your game you become even more irrelevant. With the sports calendar so full, it is hard to think hockey can be even more irrelevant than it already is, but it sure tries.
It's back so ... game on!
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