Breaking Sports

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

nhl- NBA did It, NHL still Talking

from Eric Duhatschek and the Toronto Globe and Mail,
Q: What is the timetable for a possible resolution to the NHL conflict?
A: At this stage, it's still mostly a guessing game. A settlement could come as early as next Tuesday, depending upon how negotiations proceed this week. If they move along well and the first draft is done by Friday, the lawyers can spend the weekend pouring over the fine print and then return it to the negotiating teams by Monday for a final walk-through. If both sides are satisfied with the result, the press conference could come next week. More likely, even in a best-case scenario, the document would probably need some rewording, or perhaps some last-minute clarifications, which would push the timetable back by as many as seven to 10 days. Few believe the impasse will drag beyond until the middle of July. It would make a lot of sense for the league to run the new CBA past some of its agents-turned-general managers (Phoenix's Michael Barnett, Colorado's Pierre Lacroix, new Anaheim Mighty Ducks' general manager Brian Burke) just to see if they can spot some obvious loopholes in the new agreement. After all, it was Barnett, acting on behalf of Joe Thornton, who helped derail the NHL's entry-level salary system the last time out. Since most teams have only a handful of players under contract for the 2005-06 season, the GM fraternity will need to get up to speed on the new CBA in a hurry once a new deal is done. Some teams may have to buy out players to get under the cap — or offer them on waivers. There are dozens and dozens of prominent stars — everyone from Paul Kariya and Peter Forsberg to Jason Allison and Joe Nieuwendyk and Gary Roberts — who will be free agents, able to sign with anyone....continued...