NHL-NHLPA labor talks will start soon

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We won’t have to wait much longer to see the beginning of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s CBA talks with NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr. According to Bettman, the players’ union is ready to begin negotiations, which should start soon.

Of course, when they will finish is anyone’s guess. The current CBA will expire on September 15, 2012 and if no agreement is in place before then, the 2012-13 season might not start on time. However, Bettman sounds optimistic as the process enters it’s next stage.

“I don’t understand all the speculation and the degree of negativity,” Bettman said.

It’s not clear where the battle lines will be drawn, but one likely point of contention is the revenue split between the players and owners. Currently the players take a 57% share of the revenue and the owners might seek to change that.

Unless a new CBA is agreed to before July 1, this situation might lead to a level of uncertainty for general managers going into the unrestricted free agent market. The new deal between the owners and players might change the salary cap, which means that the GMs might end up having less money to work with than they initially thought.

Either way, we’re moving forward and there are plenty of reason to be optimistic about the NHL and players’ union chances of avoiding another lockout.