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NHL, players agree tentatively to new CBA 01.06.13 at 6:46 am ET
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Mediator Scot Beckenbaugh should be every hockey fan’s favorite player this year, as Saturday’s talks between the NHL and NHLPA finally yielded a new collective bargaining agreement early Sunday morning, ending the league’s lockout.

“We have reached an agreement on the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement,” commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters early Sunday morning. “I want to thank [NHLPA executive director] Don Fehr. We still have more work to do, but it’s good to be at this point.”

The deal was struck after both sides some final moves off their previous stances. The owners moved on the maximum length of contracts and the 2013-14 salary cap, while the players moved from their stance on the length of the CBA to meet the owners.

According to TSN, the details of the new CBA include a 10 year length with an opt-out clause that begins after eight years, contracts no longer than seven years (or eight for a team signing its own player) and a $64.3 million salary cap for the 2013-14 season. Also included in the new CBA is a revamped draft lottery, as all non-playoff teams have at least a chance at the first overall pick. Previously, the most teams could move up was four spots.

TSN reports that the league has both 48-game and 50-game schedules drawn up that will be played depending on when the new CBA is finalized.

Give and take continues as NHLPA doesn’t disclaim interest 01.03.13 at 11:49 am ET
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The NHL Players’ Association did not file a disclaimer of interest Wednesday night, which was its self-imposed deadline to do so. Had they disclaimed interest, the players would no longer be represented by the union and would be able to file individual lawsuits against the owners deeming the lockout illegal.

The union still has the option to do so, but the sides met late into the night — past midnight, which was the deadline — on Wednesday and early Thursday as progress continued to be made toward a new collective bargaining agreement. According to Sporstnet’s Michael Grange, the NHL has moved on their stance regarding compliance buyouts, as owners have agreed for each team to have two prior to the 2013-14 season. Last Thursday’s proposal was the first to include compliance buyouts at all on the owners’ side.

Among the remaining issues is the salary cap for the 2013-14 season, as the league wants it to be set at $60 million, while the players want it to be $65 million.

NHL Power Rankings: Remembering which teams are good 01.02.13 at 11:59 am ET
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With hockey back, we present WEEI.com’s Power Rankings …
1. Rangers — They were two wins away from the Stanley Cup finals before they added Rick Nash, and it wasn’€™t like they were offensively starved anyway (11th in the league in goals last season). Then there’€™s the defense and that Henrik Lundqvist guy.

2. PenguinsMarc-Andre Fleury had some disappointing performances as Pitttsburgh was eliminated by the Flyers in the first round, but with Evgeni Malkin coming off a Hart-winning season and Sidney Crosby hopefully healthy the whole way, the Penguins should be able to challenge the Rangers for the top spot in the Atlantic Division.

3. Bruins — They won’€™t be able to learn whether Tuukka Rask can be the No. 1 guy for a full season because of the whole ‘€œfull season’€ thing. Will he top his 39 starts from three seasons ago? Probably not.

4. Kings — Offense is the question, but it’€™s hard to nitpick when it comes to the defending Cup champions. Jonathan Quick won the Conn Smythe, but he also should have gotten more consideration for the Hart trophy after starting 69 games in the regular season.

5. Canucks — Local product Cory Schneider is the No. 1 guy after getting a new deal with an average annual value of $4 million, but there’€™s another goalie with a bigger contract for whom the Canucks need to find a taker.

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NHL makes new offer, wants to get back on ice ‘as soon as possible’ 12.28.12 at 12:54 pm ET
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According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, the NHL has made a new proposal to the NHL players’ association as the sides try to find common ground on a collective bargaining agreement.

LeBrun writes that the owners have moved to six years for the term limits on contracts after previously stating that they would not go further than five years. Additionally, the league’s “make whole” provision (money to offset lost hockey-related revenue for players) remains at $300 million whilee allowing each team one compliance buyout before the 2013-14 season.

“In light of media reports this morning, I can confirm that we delivered to the Union a new, comprehensive proposal for a successor CBA late yesterday afternoon,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement Friday. “We are not prepared to discuss the details of our proposal at this time. We are hopeful that once the Union’s staff and negotiating committee have had an opportunity to thoroughly review and consider our new proposal, they will share it with the players. We want to be back on the ice as soon as possible.”

NHL cancels games through Jan. 14 12.20.12 at 4:16 pm ET
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It appears the blinking contest between the NHL and NHLPA will soon end one way or another, as the league announced Thursday that it has cancelled games through Jan. 14.

Previously, games had been cancelled through Dec. 30 due to the lack of a collective bargaining agreement, and with the schedule now erased through mid-January, it is likely that the league would not be able to make further cancellations without losing the entire season. A total of 625 games have been cancelled thus far.

On paper, it would appear the sides are way too close for them to cancel yet another season. Under the owners’ latest proposal, the financial particulars have essentially been agreed upon, but differences remain regarding the length of the CBA and the length of player contracts. Players are currently in the voting process to file a disclaimer of interest, which would allow the union to disband and facilitate individual lawsuits against the players against owners.

Ryan Miller denies heated exchange with Jeremy Jacobs 12.07.12 at 4:01 pm ET
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On Friday, Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller denied calling out Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs during this week’s collective bargaining agreement negotiations. It had been reported that Miller and Jacobs had gotten in a heated exchange on Wednesday, but Miller said he was simply asking the owners to not pull what they had discussed off the table.

Miller texted the following to The Buffalo News Friday:

“The owners wanted to leave the room and pull everything we spent a full day on. I asked them to stay and continue pushing through. I may have been passionate but there was no disrespect or calling out one owner by name. I have a lot of respect for any owner because they are a big part of hockey.

“I wanted more than anything to make a deal but we are not professional negotiators. We as players didn’t have the experience or authority to make a final deal. We were trying to responsibly move this process forward as best we could. If anyone thinks that we did wrong by the game or by the fans then they are misinformed. We have a responsibility to about 750 players and we made moves approved by them and thinking about them.”

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If NHLPA wanted a Bruin in the same room as Jeremy Jacobs this week, Shawn Thornton would have gone 12.07.12 at 3:39 pm ET
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When the owners and players set their “rosters,” so to speak, for the players/owners-only meetings this week in New York, the group of owners set to attend was a rather interesting one. Ron Burkle (Penguins), Mark Chipman (Jets), Jeff Vinik (Lightning) and Murray Edwards (Flames) — all of whom figured to have a stronger interest to get back on the ice than some of the hardliners — joined Jeremy Jacobs of the Bruins (perceived as a real hardliner’s hardline) and Larry Tanenbaum of the Maple Leafs.

Of the group of owners present, Jacobs was perceived as the toughest negotiator of the bunch, and one who’s been a bit of a target for frustrated fans and players alike. Also the chairman of the board of governors, Jacobs is viewed as a bottom-line guy, while the newcomers on the owners’ side likely encouraged players who wanted more amicable negotiations.

Shawn Thornton, who works for Jacobs, was not among the players present for the meetings, but it wasn’t because he would feel uncomfortable in the negotiating room with his boss.

Thornton said Thursday that he “definitely thought about going to New York” for the negotiations, but said previous engagements with the Boston Pops (Wednesday) and Kevin Youkilis‘ “Youk’s Kids” foundation (Thursday) prevented him from going.

However, Thornton said that if the NHLPA decided it would be best to have a Bruin in the room with Jacobs, he would do it.

“Yeah,” he said. “It’s a business, right? It’s a negation. I don’t think they take it personally, or they shouldn’t. I don’t think the players should either. If I got a text saying that it would have been important for me to be there, or for someone on our team to be there, I definitely would have made the effort and would maybe not be [working with the Pops and and attending the ‘Youk’s Kids’ event]. But I talked to them about it and they feel like we had some pretty good representation there. If Sidney [Crobsy]’s there, I don’t think they need me.”

Eighteen players ended up attending the meetings: Crosby, Craig Adams, David Backes, Michael Cammalleri, B.J. Crombeen, Mathieu Darche, Shane Doan, Ron Hainsey, Shawn Horcoff, Jamal Mayers, Manny Malhotra, Andy McDonald, Ryan Miller, George Parros, Brad Richards, Martin St. Louis, Jonathan Toews and Kevin Westgarth.

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