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NHL lockout Q&A

Addressing some basics of the lockout, which began at midnight Saturday.

Why is the NHL having labor issues?

The core one is a dispute over money. Having gained a salary cap in the collective bargaining agreement that expired at midnight Saturday, owners want additional economic concessions from the players. Players received 57 percent of hockey-related revenue last season. According to a breakdown of each side's latest proposal by Canada's Globe and Mail, the owners are offering players 47 to 49 percent of revenue. The players propose getting from 52.2 to 54.3 percent based on revenue growth of 7.1 percent, which is what the league has had since the 2004-05 lockout.

Why do the owners need a better deal?

Some teams are having money problems — most notably Phoenix, which has been in bankruptcy and is owned by the league — and the league wants to help them with financial concessions from the players. To some, the owners haven't helped their case with a free-spending summer during which, according to, they have spent almost $1.7 billion signing 179 players since July 1, the start of free agency. They capped it by spending more than $200 million to re-sign 14 players in the 48 hours preceding the lockout deadline. Saturday included Winnipeg re-signing forward Evander Kane to a six-year, $31.5 million deal, announced less than an hour before the lockout began.

What is the players' view?

The players believe they made all the financial concessions — most notably agreeing to a salary cap — in the expired deal, which ended the 2004-05 lockout, and they shouldn't have to make more, citing revenue growth from $2.1 billion to $3.3 billion under that deal. They say if teams aren't making money, management should examine the clubs' revenue-sharing formula.

Why has it come to a lockout?

Commissioner Gary Bettman said he would lock out the players if a new deal wasn't in place when the current one expired. The players said they were willing to work under the expiring deal until a new one was reached. Training camps were scheduled to open this week, the regular season Oct. 11.

What happens to the players during the lockout?

Players are barred from using the teams' private facilities, and clubs cannot make players appear at promotional events or use their images for promotions. Players won't be paid their salaries unless they are injured, but they will get signing bonuses and escrow checks from the league in mid October. (Any player injured in a hockey-related fashion gets his full salary until he recovers and is deemed fit to play by team doctors.) Players are free to play in other leagues, including the minor-league AHL and ECHL.

NHL lockout Q&A 09/15/12 [Last modified: Sunday, September 16, 2012 12:18am]
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