The NHL made a giant stride in attempt to end the lockout and preserve a full 82 game schedule today. Gary Bettman submitted a modified proposal to the NHLPA, with the biggest change being a 50/50 split on hockey related revenue. The deal would be for 6 years so we wouldn't have to worry about another work stoppage until 2018. They have also removed the 24% salary rollback that was in the original deal. The hopes is that this deal is agreed upon and the season can start on November 2.
The owners also came down to four years on entry level contracts, which is one less than the original five they wanted. Players will be able to become an unrestricted free agent after eight years of service, down from the 10 years in the first proposal.
It is not all lollipops and rainbows though. It is being reported that the new proposal also says any NHL player's salary, who is in the AHL, will still count against the salary cap. So get ready for the Rusty Olesz era to begin again in Chicago! I would have to imagine there will be some sort of amnesty program to remedy this, but lets not get ahead of ourselves.
It would be great if the NHLPA would jump on this deal right now and end this, but that is most likely not going to happen. Donald Fehr is taking this proposal to his back to the player reps for discussion this afternoon. I would be shocked if the NHLPA signs this deal today, but this is progress. The first steps have been made by the owners to try and save the season. I don't think this is a fluke that this proposal comes out the day after the focus group story broke. The owners might be just trying to save face here but if it leads to some real talks and ultimately a new deal then I don't give a rat's ass what brought it on. In a summer and now fall of gloom and doom this the first real bit of hope we have had for hockey. The ball is now in the NHLPA's court, lets all hope this is the start of a new CBA and it gives us back our hockey!