Check out the latest reaction and analysis to yesterday’s announcement of a tentative agreement ending the NHL lockout.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: James Mirtle breaks down the key details of the new NHL CBA, pointing out that, if NHL revenue grows at an average of 5 percent over the life of the ten-year deal, the salary cap ceiling could reach $80 million by the eight-year “opt-out” date. David Shoalts believes neither side can claim victory from this lockout, Jeff Blair calls for the replacement of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly, while Bruce Dowbiggin examined Bettman’s dubious legacy.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the salary cap reaches $80 million by the opt-out year, we could be right back into lockout land again. As I’ve repeatedly said, what the league was pushing for in this CBA does little to address the widening gap between the rich, big-market, traditional NHL markets and the struggling, non-traditional markets. As for the league replacing Bettman and Daly, don’t hold your breath. Bettman will likely stick around until 2017, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the NHL, after which he’ll likely pass the torch to Daly.
ESPN.COM: Craig Custance reports the $64.3 million salary cap for 2013-14 means some of the higher-salaried clubs (NY Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Vancouver Canucks, Montreal Canadiens, defending Stanley Cup champion LA Kings) won’t have to gut their rosters to become cap compliant next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE; The league originally pushed for a $60 million cap for next season, which would’ve had serious consequences for those clubs. Fans of those teams should thank the NHLPA for pushing for a higher cap for ’13-’14. Granted, those clubs might still have to shed a salary or two, but not on the scale they would’ve if the league had gotten its way.
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH: Jeff Gordon reports the new CBA does little to help the St. Louis Blues, a rebuilding team which is also struggling to rebuild its fan base.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Gordon points out, the gap between the “haves” and “have-nots” in the NHL is likely to widen under this CBA. Once upon a time, though, the Blues were considered a “have” team. They could be again, if they’re well-managed and continue its promising rebuild. In the short term, however, there’s not much there, as Gordon noted, which helps the Blues.
BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont pondered the potential effect the lockout may have had upon NHL fans and sponsors, wondering if they’ll return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The reason the league pushed for a ten-year CBA was to mollify disgruntled fans and sponsors by ensuring a decade of labor peace. While there might be some short-term damage, over the long term it shouldn’t adversely affect the NHL.
TORONTO SUN: Chris Stevenson believes the NHL will have a harder time winning back fans after a third lockout.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe in the non-traditional hockey markets, especially in the southern United States. In Canada and in the northern United States hockey markets, the fans will flock back as per normal. Few fans cancelled their season tickets, while NHL merchandise reportedly still sold at a reasonable clip during the lockout.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch commends US federal mediator Scot Beckenbaugh for his role in getting the NHL and NHLPA talks on pace toward a resolution over the weekend.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: NHL fans owe Beckenbaugh a debt of gratitude. His tireless efforts last Friday and Saturday are why we’re now looking forward to NHL action starting next week, rather than anticipating the cancellation of another NHL season. Scot Beckenbaugh is the MVP of the NHL lockout.
CBC.CA: Don Cherry believes NHL commissioner Gary Bettman “saved the season”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Say what, Grapes? Bettman, the man who staged the lockout, antagonized the players and treated the fans with contempt, “saved the season”? That’s compares to the Bizarro-world claim by an American army officer during the Vietnam War it was necessary to destroy the town of Ben Tre in order to save it. US federal mediator Scot Beckenbaugh saved the season, Grapes, not Bettman.
DENVER POST: Adrian Dater reports NHL training camps are expected to open on January 11, with the season opener on January 19.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Mike Heika reports Stars president and CEO Jim Lites said his club intends to price tickets competitively in order to woo back their fans.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars, once a “have” team, became a “have-not” during the last CBA, so they have little choice but to reduce ticket prices to entice back their fans. It’ll be interesting to see how many other NHL clubs follow the Stars. I doubt we’ll see many Canadian clubs following their lead. Remember, it’s the market which determines ticket prices. If there’s a huge demand, a team has no reason to reduce prices.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALKS: NHL divisional realignment won’t take place this season, but is expected to occur for 2013-14. Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas, meanwhile, isn’t expected to return to the NHL now that the lockout is over, sticking to his pledge to take this season off. Joe Yerdon, meanwhile, takes a look at several notable players who were recovering from injuries during the lockout and if they’ll be ready to return when the season opens next week.
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: Penguins GM Ray Shero will turn his focus this summer toward re-signing center Evgeni Malkin and defenseman Kris Letang. Both are slated to become unrestricted free agents in July, 2014.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The NHL lockout was beneficial for Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa, allowing him time to recover from a concussion and to spend more time with his family.
MLIVE.COM: Long time Detroit Red Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom is expected to retire before the start of this shortened season.
THE SPORTING NEWS: Jesse Spector looks back at the memorable funny moments of the NHL lockout.