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Lightning Round: Six-year NHL CBA extension could be agreed on soon

And hub city choices narrowed down to six.

NHLPA Press Conference
MONTREAL, QC - JANUARY 23: Vincent Lecavalier of the Tampa Bay Lightning speaks during a press conference the during the 2009 NHL All-Star weekend at the Queen Elizabeth Fairmont Hotel on January 23, 2009 in Montreal, Canada. The NHLPA announced it would not terminate the CBA.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

On Tuesday, we got some more information on the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the NHL and NHLPA that could end in a six-year extension. The two sides hope to ratify the agreement along with Phase 3/4 of the Return to Play Protocol, since the Protocol could require a full 800 player vote and the new CBA definitely does.

An MOU is a Memorandum (Memo) of Understanding, which according to Wikipedia, “is a type of agreement between two (bilateral) or more (multilateral) parties. It expresses a convergence of will between the parties, indicating an intended common line of action.” So, a not-quite-an-agreement agreement.

The new CBA will be hoping to cap escrow for players at 20%, meaning they are guaranteed at least 80% of their contracts, with some percentage of the balance (less or more than 20%) being payed back to the players once the season’s revenue is counted. At the moment, escrow is uncapped and the lack of financial certainty has made the players uneasy.

The Olympics is another sticking point that should hopefully be rectified in the new CBA.

The current 10-year agreement goes up to the end of 2021-22, but has out clauses for both sides that could’ve seen either side leave this Fall. If the two sides agree on a new deal this summer, it could replace the final two years of the current CBA and see the new one stay in place until 2027 at the latest.

Pierre LeBrun has a whole article on this at The Athletic for those who have a subscription.

“Whatever the case, a CBA extension will require a full NHLPA membership vote, all 800-plus players. It’s not clear yet whether the Phase 3/4 Return to Play agreement would be a full membership vote or simply an Executive Board (31 player reps) vote.” - Pierre LeBrun [The Athletic]

More on the Return to Play, Pittsburgh and Dallas were both told that they are off the list of potential hub cities along with Flavortown and Minnesota.

That brings the list down to six: Vegas, Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, LA, and Chicago. Apparently in that order.

While many believe it’s down to Vegas, Vancouver, and/or Edmonton, Elliotte Friedman and Chris Johnston are uncertain about the first two as snags have caught their proposals.

In terms of Edmonton and Toronto, it appears Toronto upgraded their proposal in order to keep a tighter bubble around where the players will be. MLSE is planning to use the site of the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) grounds and home of the Toronto Marlies where there is lots of amenities, hotels, ice, and train access to the main arena.

Edmonton’s Premier (Governor equivalent) Jason Kenney tried to sell the city as a hub destination, but showed footage of areas exclusively several hours away from Edmonton. Banff is not Edmonton, Jason.

In terms of travel, European players will start having to leave soon in order to fulfill the two-week quarantine period to get ready for July 10th training camps. The New York Times had a (free) article where they reported that Americans may not be allowed in the European Union as their containment of COVID-19 has not met the standard. This could impact American players playing in Europe next season and European players going back home after the playoffs.

One of those Americans is Reid Boucher formerly of the Utica Comets and one of the best AHLers in the league. He’s heading to Russia to play for Omsk Avangard, one of the top teams.

This is an interesting idea in case the NHL also needed spare forwards for the playoffs. Keeping a group of reserves fit could be very interesting.

The New Jersey Devils have been looking for old/experienced faces to be their new head coach, and it’s being reported that Lindy Ruff is one of those people, along with names like Gerard Gallant and Peter Laviolette.

Ruff is currently an assistant coach with the New York Rangers and fans are not very happy with his performances. To be fair, the team has been rebuilding.