ONLY SMALL THAW IN NHL ICE-JAM
By LARRY BROOKS
June 2, 2005 -- While an atmosphere of inevitability hovers over the
ongoing negotiations between the NHL and the players union, that does
not mean an announcement of an agreement to end the lockout is
imminent because it is not.
The Post has learned from sources on both sides that, while the
framework reported exclusively by this paper on Sunday is indeed
expected to form the basis of a new collective-bargaining agreement,
myriad critical issues remain unresolved including, but not limited
to, the final structure of the salary cap; revenue sharing;
application of systemic issues such as salary arbitration and players
on Injured Reserve within a hard cap structure; team rights to
players that have expired under the old CBA; and the disposition of
The Post reported that the deal will feature a salary-cap range, with
a team floor established at a number believed approximately $24M and
a ceiling between $36M and $38M, with qualifying offers and salary
arbitration based on the union's Dec. 9 proposal rather on the
league's subsequent, more restrictive, versions.
The CBA also would include a 24 percent rollback on all existing
contracts and qualifying offers.
Though some players apparently have been led to believe that the
tough negotiating has essentially been completed, that simply is not
true. At the same time, there are league governors who have been told
the process is further advanced than it is.
Full-scale negotiating is to resume today in Toronto, but there
should be no expectation that the meeting will produce a lightning
"We are definitely not that close on [numerous] issues," The Post was
told by an individual familiar with the progress of the
There are dissidents on both sides of the table, but the PA Executive
Committee, which, The Post has learned, has been in consistent
communication with club player representatives, has the support of a
decisive majority of the rank-and-file.
At the same time, it is believed the most extreme members of the NHL
negotiating committee would prefer a more restrictive CBA than the
one on the table, but that they too are in the identifiable minority.
The league has established the middle part of the month as a target
for completing the CBA in order to allow for the most orderly