After 113 days, and at the expense of losing 625 regular season games, the back and forth tug of war match over labor disputes between owners and players is reportedly over at last.
Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo! Sports is reporting the two sides have come to a verbal agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement that will last 10 years, and finally put an end to the NHL lockout. NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr said, via Sportsnet,
"Any process like this is difficult; it can be long…we have the framework of a deal."
Mediator Scott Beckenbaugh returned to the negotiating table last week, working to aid both sides in finding a common ground on a few final issues. The salary cap for the 2013-2014 season was one of the last remaining hurdles for the league and its players to climb. With the cap set at $70.2 million for this season, the league reportedly bargained to bring that number down to $60 million for next season, while the players asked for something closer to $65 million. Rich Chere of the Newark Star-Ledger is reporting that the sides agreed to a 2013-2014 salary cap of $64.3 million.
The players' association recently threatened to "disclaim interest", which would dissolve the union and allow players to individually sue the league for antitrust violations. A Jan. 11 deadline to get a deal done was set by Commissioner Gary Bettman this past week, otherwise the league would have likely canceled the remainder of the season if an agreement wasn't in place by that date. The threat to "disclaim interest" by the players' association, and a final deadline being set by the league may have been the pressure that both sides needed in order to finally come to terms on a new CBA.
Once the deal is completely finalized, a shortened season is expected to begin sometime within the next two weeks.
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