Amid the bad news of the day was some damn good news. Even if the stories surrounding it are conflicting, I still think it's good news. Apparently, the NHL and the NHLPA are very close to a deal. Some reports indicate that they have already agreed in principle, and that they just need to draw up the particulars and get all the John Hancocks. The League and the PA both deny that the deal is imminent, but continue to indicate that things are going very well. Anyway, the rumors are that the new CBA should be signed early next week.
Be ware that this is unconfirmed, but the details from several different sources indicate that the player salaries will be rolled back 24% across the board. This is in-line with an offer they made a long time ago. Also, there would be a "team-by-team floating salary cap" maxing out at 37 million. I have no idea what differentiates a "floating salary cap" from, say, a "soft salary cap". Also in the alleged deal is that no player may earn more than 20% of his team's total payroll. Additionally (here's the part I like), 15% of every player's paycheck will go into an escrow account. If, when the season is over, league-wide player salaries come out to 54% or less of total league revenues, the money in escrow reverts to the players. If players' salary spending comes to more than 54% of revenues, then then the League gets to keep and evenly disburse the funds to the teams.
Also, it looks like there will be no all-star game next season. They've decided to make an 18-day break in the schedule which will enable players to represent their home country in the Winter Olympics.
Here's the part I don't like. Since we didn't play at all this year, there's no way to determine the draft order, unless they use the order that was used for the 2004 draft. The indication is that they'll put all 30 teams in a lottery to determine the order. That way, every team has an equal chance to get the first pick, which will be the young phenom Sidney Crosby, who has been dubbed "The Next One". Should this CBA be signed next week, there would be a turbo draft held via telephone rather than in a public venue. Of course I would prefer that the 'Canes get the first pick, but as long as he goes to an Eastern Conference team, I'll be happy enough to have chances to see him play.
It's very hard for me to temper my optimism with caution. I have to find a way, though.
now playing (again):
Sufjan Stevens Illinois