After months of what could barely be considered negotiations, the NHL and NHLPA have finally agreed upon the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement.
The league's official website announced that a deal was reached at 6 a.m. ET on Sunday morning.
While not all of the final pieces have been worked out—mainly what the league will do with this season—the two sides have come to an agreement on many key issues that were driving them apart.
TSN's Aaron Ward, Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun have reported the features of what will be the newest CBA. Based on these reports, here is how the players fared on key issues.
Both sides were very far apart on this issue entering negotiations. The players wanted to keep their 57 percent, while the owners wanted that number reduced to 43 percent.
In the end, they came to an easy agreement of a 50-50 split between the two sides.
While this is still bigger than other sports like the NFL, where the players get 47 percent, you never want this big of a drop in revenue from one year to another.
In reality, the players were relatively spoiled with their previous number of 57 percent. The owners won this part of the negotiation by bringing it down to a reasonable figure that will bring a lot more money to those in charge.
Whenever possible, the players prefer to have a higher salary cap and lower floor each season. This obviously allows more money to come in overall, and the minimum prevents owners from barely fielding a team.
In the new CBA, the Year 2 cap will remain at $64.3 million, which is equal to the players' demands and the same as the 2011-12 season.
However, the floor will drop from $48.3 million to $44 million.
Overall, this still helps the players, because it prevents teams from cutting back costs compared to the current rosters. A lowered cap would have put a lot of jobs of established players in jeopardy.
This was one of the bigger sticking points in the negotiation process. The league wanted to put an end to the massive deals that had been signed in recent years, like Ilya Kovalchuk's 15-year contract.
The NHL made sure in the new CBA that contracts will not exceed seven years for free agents. Those teams re-signing their own players can create up to an eight-year deal.
Additionally, the league will prevent front-loaded contracts by saying that the deals cannot vary more than 35 percent from year to year. The final year also must be within 50 percent of the highest year.
What this means is that teams can no longer provide more money to players while avoiding the large hit against the salary cap. The long, front-loaded deals were a way to circumvent the system.
Once again, the players lose due to the fact that less money and shorter contracts will be handed out by teams in the future. It was a reasonable move by the league to create fairness throughout its teams, but the individual players will suffer.
All on-ice incidents will go directly to NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan for review. After that, an appeal will go directly to commissioner Gary Bettman.
However, a neutral third party can be consulted on suspensions of six games or more at this point. This gives players additional security in that everything will be handled fairly without bias.
If you go through a former player, a commissioner, a neutral party and are still found guilty, you probably did something wrong.
Fans and players should be delighted to hear that the new CBA is set to last for the next 10 years. There is an opt-out clause after eight years, but it is still quite a long contract.
Fortunately, this means that no one will have to suffer through this process for quite some time.
It seems like those at the negotiating table have learned their mistake and realized that everyone loses money during a lockout.
In this case, everyone wins because hockey will be back and around without stoppage for a long time.
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