The offseason has been highlighted by free agency, for the most part, including my favorite story, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter signing in Minnesota. That was a good start, but it distracted us from a bigger story: labor negotiations.
I am a scientist by trade, and not a lawyer, so I’m not sure I understand the whole labor negotiation process fully, so I will glean the same points that Harrison Mooney at Puck Daddy did:
1. Reduce players’ hockey-related revenues to 46% from 57 %.
2. 10 seasons in the NHL before being eligible for unrestricted free agency.
3. Contracts limited to 5 years.
4. No more salary arbitration.
5. Entry-level contract are 5 years long instead of 3.
Those are some wild changes, and the Players Association is obviously not going to take to those changes, and we may be in for a long negotiation, perhaps even one that scuttles the 2012-13 season, merely 7 years after the last lockout. At least, that’s the pessimistic way to look at those things. Former player Bobby Holik is a little more optimistic on his blog:
I am not ready to write off any part of the season yet, it is early July and the negotiation has just begun.