In the last year, three of the four major professional sports agreed on new collective bargaining agreements after intense negotiations. Now, it's the NHL's turn.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has consistently said he doesn't expect CBA talks to begin between the league and the NHL Players Association until after the All-Star break. Well, it's here and the showdown between Bettman and new union executive director Donald Fehr is imminent. The current CBA expires after this season.
"Whenever they're ready, we're ready," Bettman said last week, according to NHL.com. "We've been ready."
And Fehr has been getting ready. Since taking the job with the NHLPA, Fehr has spent his time canvassing the players and learning exactly what their needs and concerns are heading into this negotiation.
"He's done a good job of getting everyone's opinions, thoughts and feelings and bringing it all together and forming his own thoughts and feelings," said Phoenix Coyotes goalie Jason LaBarbera, the team's player representative. "He has a job to do and he does it."
Optimism is typically higher than the negotiations before a lockout, but that doesn't mean there aren't issues both sides will fight hard for. The failure to agree on a suitable realignment strategy was a good indication that neither side will back down.
So what are the major issues? Start here:
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