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NHL's complicated new CBA not done yet

The NHL logo is seen on a goal at a Nashville Predators practice rink in Nashville, Tenn.
The NHL logo is seen on a goal at a Nashville Predators practice rink in Nashville, Tenn.

These aren’t the best of times for thrashing out the fine print of a new collective bargaining agreement — and thus it is taking extra effort for the NHL and its players association to sign.

So it now appears the multi-year deal, which is tied to this summer’s hoped-for playoff tournament and COVID-19 issues, might take until early next week to settle. A tentative agreement on major changes is in place, but specific details,A and the critical vote on the whole package by the entire union membership, is still needed. Two-thirds of the league board of governors must be on board, too.

The document also covers the final stages of the league’s Return To Play plan, such as approving the health and safety guidelines in the hub cities of Edmonton and Toronto. Adoption of a flat salary cap for the next two seasons, a temporary 10% cut in salaries next year and a series of reduced escrow for players from a 20% hit next year is also being examined. The players will get a notable concession from the owners, a return to the Olympics in 2022 and 2026.

Critical dates for next season, such as free agent shopping day and the entry draft, are also being clarified.

On Friday, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported the CBA extension could go to 2025-26 or longer, with some interesting modifications to trade rules. They could see no-move and no-trade clauses go with a player who has consented to lift one of them to his next club, even if the clause has not been activated and even if the new team has not agreed to continue it.

For the tournament teams, Friedman added there will be restrictions on the number of people allowed in the hotel lobby and on elevators and each player will get his own room. Tournament teams are expected for training camps starting July 10 and later report to their Eastern or Western hub city.

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020

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