Dec 29, 2012, 1:38 PM EST
Late Thursday night, the NHL took perhaps its biggest step to date
in attempting to end the lockout, making several concessions in the latest
proposal to the players’ association. It’s starting to look like this is close
to the best deal the players are going get.
But for the first time, the league attached a “drop-dead”
date to the collective bargaining agreement. If an agreement can’t be reached
by January 11, the season could be cancelled.
On the bright side, assuming they did come to terms before
January 11 – a rather brave assumption – a 48-game season would begin on
January 19. That’s, like, three weeks from now!
Frank Seravalli provides an excellent breakdown of the details,
but to summarize, the owners moved in the union’s direction in several key areas,
including on the three big sticking points that caused negotiations to fall
apart earlier this month — CBA length, maximum contract length, and salary variance.
I’m sure there is some back-and-forth still to come, and by
no means is it a perfect deal, but this offer definitely puts the ball squarely in the
players’ court now. We don’t want to get trapped into thinking
the madness is about to end, but this certainly clears a path to the finish.
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