INSIDE THE DEAL
- Players will receive $300 million in transition payments over three years to account for existing contracts, pushing their revenue share over 50 percent at the start of the deal.
- Players gained a defined benefit pension plan for the first time.
- The salary cap for this season will be $70.2 million before prorating to adjust for the shortened season, and the cap will drop to $64.3 million in 2013-14 - the same amount as 2011-12. There will be a salary floor of $44 million in those years.
- Free agents will be limited to contracts of seven years (eight for those re-signed with their former club).
- Salaries within a contract may not vary by more than 35 percent year to year, and the lowest year must be at least 50 percent of the highest year.
- There were no changes to eligibility for free agency and salary arbitration.
- The threshold for teams to release players in salary arbitration will increase from $1.75 million to $3 million.
- Each team may use two buyouts to terminate contracts before the 2013-14 or 2014-15 seasons for two-thirds of the remaining guaranteed income. The buyout will be included in the players' revenue share but not the salary cap.
- The minimum salary will remain at $525,000 this season and will rise to $750,000 by 2021-12.
- Either side may terminate the deal after the 2019-20 season.
- Revenue sharing will increase to $200 million annually and rise with revenue.
- An industry growth fund of $60 million will be funded by the sides over three years and replenished as need.
- Participation of NHL and its players in the 2014 Sochi Olympics will be determined later in discussions also involving the International Olympic Committee and the International Ice Hockey
Locked out for months, the NHL was indeed ready to drop the puck.
"It's a beautiful day for Hockey," he posted Sunday on Twitter.
Call the overseas players and tell them to come on home to New Jersey and Pennsylvania and other states where the NHL only existed in the form of messy labor updates. The NHL and the players' association agreed on a tentative pact to end the lockout and save what is left of a fractured schedule.
Let the training camps begin.
"I'm ready to play," Flyers veteran defenseman Kimmo Timonen said. "We're just waiting for the season to get started. It's been a long four months."
But, finally, fans can stop thinking about board rooms and talking heads dressed in suits. Rather, it's time to get ready for Sid the Kid. It's time for the Los Angeles Kings to go defend the Stanley Cup. It's time to watch your team play, oh, about four times per week.
Sure, the Winter Classic was wiped out. The All-Star game went bust.
But at 48 or 50 games, it's still hockey at the highest level.
One of the questions that arises now, of course, and after any sort of stoppage for that matter, is will the fans come back? This is the third labor dispute in Commissioner Gary Bettman's tenure, and though the fans returned in the past, the jury is out this time.
Bars Waiting, Anxious:
At Soho in Buffalo's Chippewa Entertainment Strip, owner Jay Manno estimates that he's lost about 20 percent of his usual business.
"i'm thinking around the arena.. some of those businesses, I don't know how they survived," says Manno
At downtown Detroit's Rub BBQ Pub, manager Chris Eid said he was "ecstatic" when he heard the news Sunday morning. And the settlement and the promise of a return to NHL action was a big topic of conversation among his afternoon customers, he said.
"Everyone misses hockey," Eid said. "And now we're getting it back."
" I don't know where to point fingers and I don't want to point fingers, but there has to be something wrong when the same commissioner has been in charge during three labor disputes. You don't see that in any other sport. And I'm a season ticket holder, besides the fact it hurts me from a business standpoint, it also took away something me and my family enjoy,"
- Jay Manno, Pres., Chippewa Entertainment Dist.
Many of the NHL players can understand the chilly reception from the fans.
"To the fans that won't come back, I can understand," Phoenix Coyotes forward Paul Bissonnette wrote on Twitter. "To the ones that will, thank you for your patience. Welcome back NHL hockey."
Amid the realization they'll have to repair the damaged relationship with the die-hards, Flyers chairman Ed Snider told The Associated Press he hoped the fans returned to support the league.
"I'm hoping that our fans understand this was something that had to be done for the strength of the league, for the strength of the Players Association," Snider said by phone. "I hope they don't hold it against us and just come out and see some great hockey. If I had to guess, I think we're going to be in great shape."
The Nashville Predators encouraged fans to wear team colors on Monday in a show of solidarity. Tennessee Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck tweeted, "Welcome back!" at a trio of Predators.
It won't be a rosy return for every player. The New Jersey Devils have four players still overseas, including star forward Ilya Kovalchuk, who could well become the team's captain now that forward Zach Parise is in Minnesota. Giroux (neck) and his Flyers teammate, forward Danny Briere (wrist), were injured in their European stints. Giroux is expected to be ready for training camp. Briere's status is unknown.
The players have been locked out since Sept. 16, the day after the previous agreement expired. That deal came after an extended lockout that wiped out the entire 2004-05 season.
Coyotes captain Shane Doan said the players agreed to the best deal it could thanks to union executive director Donald Fehr.
"From being in the room quite a bit, there was a sense this was the best deal available," he said in New York. "It's always tough because we're all fans of the game and we wish we didn't have to go through this. But we did, and we're on the other side now."
All games through Jan. 14 had already been canceled, claiming more than 50 percent of the original schedule. Teams will hold a brief training camp, maybe a week, before starting at least a 48-game season.
"Training camp, usually you do three days then you start exhibition games," Flyers forward Max Talbot said. "I believe it's enough. Sometimes training camp is too long. It's nice to get in the action. Forty-eight games in a little bit of time ... I think it would be exciting."
The Flyers, Bruins and the Sidney Crosby-led Penguins were among the teams that worked out on their own, some paying for ice time at their team's own practice rinks.
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara was set to return to North America this week after playing for Prague Lev of the KHL. The Russian league was a popular landing spot for locked-out players, who decided the structure - and payday - was worth the risk of injury as they waited out the dispute.
"It was fun, it was great to be doing the practices and being with my (Bruins) teammates," Chara, a defenseman, said. "At the same time, it wasn't organized hockey under some kind of a system and schedule. That's why I choose to go to Europe and play over here."
Well, he can pack his sticks and catch a plane. That practice ice time price is about to get slashed to "free."
Flyers forward Jody Shelley said teammate Scott Hartnell gave him the good news the lockout was about over via a text at 5:30 a.m. Sunday. Shelley expected more of his teammates to trickle in this week to the Flyers' New Jersey training facility.
"We can get back as a group, get back as a team," he said. "We're the Philadelphia Flyers. That's what we want to be, all of us. We left there last May and we couldn't wait to get back in September and get at it.
Four months later, it's time to play. Finally.