President Barack Obama was re-elected into office. We survived the end of the world (har har). Relationships have come and gone. We have turned the calendar page into a new year.
The personal events that have taken place over the last four months have been significant. What about in the world of sports?
The San Francisco Giants defeated the Detroit Tigers to win the 2012 World Series. The New England Patriots clinched another AFC East title. The Boston Celtics revamped their roster without the services of Ray Allen. Team USA defeated Sweden in the gold medal match at the World Junior Ice Hockey championship.
The last event that was mentioned could have been the fuel that the NHL needed to finalize the end of this lockout.
On the morning of January 6, 2013, the NHL and the NHL Players Association agreed on a new collective bargaining agreement, which signifies the return of hockey. Even though the lockout was 113 days long, the last time we had seen an NHL game was on June 11, 2012. That was the night that the Los Angeles Kings defeated the New Jersey Devils in six games to win the Stanley Cup.
Here are some of the issues that were resolved:
- The Salary cap for the 2013-14 season will be $64.3 million – the exact cap the NHL had in 2011-12. The NHL was asking for a $60 million cap; the NHLPA was asking for a $67 million cap for next season.
- The salary floor for 2013-14 will be $44 million. The cap floor from 2011-12 was $48.3 million.
- The longest term for a player a team is re-signing in eight years; the longest term for a free-agent moving from team to team is seven years.
- Finally, realignment has been pushed down the road and will not happen for this season.
Once the new collective bargaining agreement is approved by both sides, the NHL will hold either a 50- or 48-game season that would begin on Jan. 15 or 19. Schedules have not yet been released, but it is believed that either option would see teams face only conference opponents. Those details should be finalized within the next couple of days.
The 2013 NHL season is officially weeks away.
It is tough to say whether or not the same passion and dedication will be on display every night during this condensed season. The lockout is going to affect teams differently. That is just reality.
With the exception of a few veterans, the Boston Bruins have a relatively young roster. The idea of potentially playing four, possibly five, games a week will affect older and less-disciplined teams. Remember, the Bruins are still one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. A shortened and condensed season should not be the reason why the B's do not get back to the Stanley Cup finals. In fact, this should play in their favor.
Let the season begin.
One last thing...anyone looking forward to hearing this again?