NHL Tentatively Agrees to Terms of new Collective Bargaining Agreement
I've been patiently checking TSN every day after work in anticipation of a new NHL collective bargaining agreement. The NHL skipped the entire 2004-05 season after failing to come to an agreement last year, and I'm glad to see that they were able to reach an agreement in time to conduct a draft and full training. The deal is no yet official, as the owners and the NHLPA are both required to ratify the deal, which is expected. The new contract is over 600 pages, and I believe that many more details will probably be released shortly.
Since there was no 2004-05 season, the entry draft order will be based entirely on a lottery, so there is a small chance that my team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, will be able to draft scoring phenom Sidney Crosby. In a mock draft conducted by the International Scouting Service, Toronto actually one the first draft pick and selected Crosby. The lottery will be held on July 21st, and the draft on July 30th in Ottawa. Details of the lottery can be found here.
In the end, the NHLPA gave up some major concessions to the owners, including a salary cap. I believe this was a good move for the game - The NHL is simply not on the same financial level as the NBA or NFL, and player salaries had just gotten out of hand. It was sad to see franchises like the Quebec Nordiques, Winnipeg Jets and Hartford Whalers disappear during the past decade, and it would be great for the league if teams like the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames can remain competitive with the new deal.