The NHL Lockout is Over, Season Will Be At Least 48 Games

Gary Bettman’s third protracted lockout as NHL Commissioner is over. The league and the players association have reached a 10-year collective bargaining agreement. The season should start by Jan. 19 and be at least 48 games. Like Congress averting the fiscal cliff of their own design, we assume both sides gave themselves a hearty round of applause.

Here are some of the particulars.

Players had earlier agreed to a 50-50 split of the hockey-related revenue, a concession from the last CBA when they received 57%. But the final hurdles that were cleared game on the pension plan, where players will receive a pension plan similar to major league baseball players. Owners have agreed to accept some liability in that plan. Plus, the NHL accepted a $64.3 million salary cap for the second year and players accepted a seven-year cap on individual contracts. Teams can sign their own players for eight years. Teams can make two compliance buyout to get under the 2013-14 cap, but it will count against the players’ share.

The new CBA also calls for a year-to-year variance limit of 35% on multi-year contracts, and the lowest season can not be less than 50% of the highest. Originally, owners wanted a 5% variance.

We will now brush the dust off our Red Wings hat, smile and resume caring about other sports until the playoffs start.

[Photo via Getty]

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