Wednesday, July 06, 2005

CBA Deal might be announced by this weekend

While many questions remain about what changes the new CBA will include, it's no secret a deal is close to being done. -- It is far from breaking news that a deal in principle between the National Hockey League and the Players' Association is about to be announced, but the target date appears to be slowly coming into focus.
If the pace of discussions continues, sources tell Sportsnet, it is possible an agreement pending ratification could be declared as early as Friday, or over the weekend.The NHL has called its executive committee into New York for a meeting on Monday, at which point the commissioner and his legal team hopes to be in a position to hand over the agreement.Ratification of this agreement is by no means a slam-dunk and is believed seven-10 days will be required to complete the process, which would zero in on mid-month as the beginning of a mammoth re-launch.Much has been speculated over the past several months as to what this new CBA will contain and separating fact from fiction won't be possible until the new document is unveiled.What is known at this point is the system that will govern the 30 teams will be based on a hard salary cap, likely just under $40-million with a floor of approximately $22-million.Sportsnet can confirm this system will not include a luxury tax, however revenue sharing will very much play a role in trying to sustain all teams' long-term viability. And while the revenue sharing component soon to be released will be more comprehensive, the most simplistic way to describe it is the top 10 teams will feed a percentage of their gross hockey revenues into a pool designed to prop up the bottom 10 teams.Clearly, it's undetermined as to what dollar amount the higher revenue clubs can expect to contribute, however sources say these teams believe it will hover between $5-7 million dollars annually.As a further means of ensuring player salaries do not exceed 54 per cent of league revenue, an escrow account as reported by the Ottawa Sun will be introduced, funneling a percentage of annual player salaries into a fund that will help the NHL balance future discrepancies between payroll and revenue.Many perceive the latter to be a contentious issue among union members and one that will require great explanation from union leadership.What has also come to light in the last few days is roster size will remain at 23. A number that some teams will independently cut by one or two players in an effort to save money, or free up dollars for luring or holding onto players determined to have more impact on specific teams.NHL training camps will be shortened by as much as 10 days with camps this fall expected to be a full 20 days, while still revolving around a nine-game exhibition schedule.Still, the questions far out number the answers and while information on a new hockey world is incredibly hard to uncover and subsequently verify, all signs point toward a resolution and an end to a lockout that has claimed one full NHL season and interrupted the preparations for the beginning of 2005-06.
-referenced from

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