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NHL, players reach tentative CBA agreement to end the lockout



At about 6 a.m. Sunday, after a 16-hour bargaining session in New York, the NHL and the Players' Association -- with the help of federal mediator Scot Beckenbaugh -- struck a tentative agreement to end the lockout. If the players and owners ratify the agreement, games could be played as early as Jan. 15.

Tampa Bay Lightning right wing B.J. Crombeen got the news when he woke up at about 6:50.

"It was nice to get up to," he said. "Obviously, it's still got to go through the whole ratification process so it's not a 100 percent sense of relief. But to have all the major things agreed on in principle, obviously it's a good feeling. Hopefully, the rest of the process goes smoothly and we can get back to playing hockey."

Various reports said the season will be either 48 or 50 games. A 48-game schedule would start Jan. 19. A 50-game schedule would start Jan. 15.

* The new collective bargaining agreement will be for 10 years with a re-open option after eight.

*The salary cap will be $64.3 million in 2013-14, down from $70.2 million next season. That is a significant change from the league's original proposal of a $60 million cap. That will help the Lightning which already has $58 million committed to 15 players along with continued buyout payments of $1.17 million to Vinny Prospal. 

* There will be two compliance buyouts available to teams in the summer of 2013. Those will not count against the cap but will come out of the players' share of hockey related revenue. The salary floor will be $44 million.

* There will be seven-year limits on contracts, though teams can sign their own free agents for up to eight years.

* Player contracts can have no more than a 35-percent yearly salary variance, but no more than a 50 percent variance between any two seasons. 

* The league and players will share liability funding of the players' pension.

* Participation in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, will be determined outside the CBA.

The players originally wanted a shorter CBA, but Crombeen said in the end, a 10-year deal made the most sense.

"One of the big question marks for us was a large majority of the membership won't be around the next time (the CBA expires), but I think it was something we felt we needed to do for fans, for sponsors, for all the people involved in the game," he said. "It's something that needs to be done. Having gone through this the last few times, it's very detrimental to the game and the brand itself. It's something we wanted to make sure didn't happen again."

The lockout cost the league 510 regular-season games, the Winter Classic and the All-Star Game.

[Last modified: Sunday, January 6, 2013 9:44am]


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