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Monday, June 27, 2005

nhl- Old Contracts

via the Ottawa Sun, The two sides in the NHL labour dispute have one big issue to settle before a new collective bargaining agreement is put in place: What happens to last season's contracts?
NHL sources say while the league and the NHL Players' Association have agreed on many structural issues, they still need to decide whether the players will have their contracts honoured next season.
"That's the issue they're arguing over the most at the moment,'' an NHL source said yesterday. ''The league doesn't want to honour those contracts and they don't feel they should have to honour those contracts."
Sources say the league has informed the players there is no reason to honour the contracts because the players were locked out and the time on the contracts have passed.
The players argue that centre Alexei Yashin was forced to fulfill a year of his contract to the Senators when he sat out the 1999-2000 season in a dispute and the same rules should apply now. Yashin was later dealt to the Islanders.
It's believed the NHLPA has suggested it could take the league to arbitration if it refuses to honour the contracts, which are subject to the 24% salary rollback that the players have agreed to accept.
Not honouring the deals would work well for the league because the market would be flooded with 300-400 free agents, allowing teams flexibility while working under a new CBA that will almost certainly include a salary cap.
The cap is expected to be somewhere around $34-$36 million (all terms US) with a floor of $22 million. But sources also say the two sides have agreed to raise the minimum annual salary to $400,000 for new contracts. Under the old CBA, the minimum salary was $175,000.
NO DRAFT FOR OTTAWA?: The whisper around the NHL is the draft won't be held at the Corel Centre this summer and commissioner Gary Bettman would like the session to take place in New York. Mayor Bob Chiarelli has made it clear Ottawa is ready to hold the draft on short notice, but sources say the league would like to have top prospect Sidney Crosby drafted in the Big Apple where there would be more of a media spotlight. It's rumoured the draft will be held Aug. 6 in New York, but a decision won't be made until the new CBA is in place.