Insider: Finally, Hockey Is Back

Finally, we can return to business as usual in the hockey world.

By now you have heard the National Hockey League and the NHLPA came to a tentative agreement early Sunday morning, ending the 113 day lockout, and as a result, hockey fans will get their game back.

“Don Fehr and I are here to tell you that we have reached an agreement on the framework of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the details of which need to be put to paper,” Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “We have to dot a lot of I’s and cross a lot of T’s. There is still a lot of work to be done, but the basic framework has been agreed upon.”

The deal is reportedly expected to deliver at least eight years of labor peace, and has a couple of very interesting things in terms of player movement included in it.

First, there is a clause in the deal that allows for two amnesty buyouts that have to be used before the beginning of the 2013-14 season. This will add an interesting dynamic in terms of basically giving a team a “get out of jail free card” with bad contracts. Basically, you can pay the remainder of two bad contracts and take them off the books. The NBA most recently added a one-time amnesty clause to their CBA, but talking to people in and around the NBA, that clause was mostly used on players that were hurt. General Managers in the NBA really could not justify telling a healthy player that could contribute to go away.

Another interesting aspect reportedly in this CBA is the ability for any team that did not make the Stanley Cup Playoffs to have a shot at possibly moving up to the top overall pick, again similar to how the NBA operates. This is intriguing in the sense that it is much harder for a team to “tank” late in the season.

Finally, the most interesting thing about this CBA for any hockey fan is the eight years (and possibly more) of labor peace this deal will bring to the game. After three straight work stoppages, we have gotten to the point that enough is enough. Everyone involved in this sport cannot continue to allow this to happen. But enough about the business side of the game; it is time to get back to the on ice portion of the game.

Stay tuned to Sports Talk 1040 and as players start to return to town and training camps prepare to open.