NHL Owners Meet Wednesday to Ratify Tentative Agreement, More Details on Playing Schedule & CBA >

Wednesday, Jan 09, 2013 -

While we all wait anxiously for the abbreviated 2013 season to begin, all 30 NHL Owners assemble today, in New York, for the Board of Governors meeting to ratify the tentative Collective Bargaining Agreement. In order to approve the newest CBA, it'll need the majority of Owners to vote 'Yes' on its terms. Though that may create a sinking feeling in your stomach, we're told not to worry, and should expect full cooperation and the schedule to begin on January 19. 

On Tuesday night, the Players' Association and League officers were finalizing a summary document. Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly says both sides are close to doing so. In order to begin camp, which is set to kickoff this coming Sunday, and then the season soon following, the majority of the Owners, as well as the Union, must approve. The summary document will bullet-point all the major revisions to the former CBA, and layout the agreement's terminology so that the ratification process goes as quickly and easily as possible. 

"[We] don't need a signed document to complete ratification process, but we do need a signed agreement to open camps," Daly wrote. "The goal is to get that done by Saturday so that we can open camps on Sunday."

Speaking of the schedule, Bill Daly has confirmed that there will be a 48-game season, and will begin on Saturday, January 19. TSN's Bob McKenzie was first to report the schedule's model, which, not surprisingly, is all inner-Conference play and heavily divisional . There will be no crossover Conference contests --

So, each of us Flyers fans can kiss a tilt against Jaromir Jagr & Co. goodbye, which was set to happen back on October 30 before the lockout was enforced. 

The reason for not implementing any crossover games on the abbreviated schedule is simple -- There's no time to. This year will be a sprint to the Playoffs, and each and every single game will matter more than it usually would in an 82-game matrix. Inner Conference conclusions will build a clearer road of where Clubs are seeded for the post-season. 

Given the circumstances, I don't think we have much to complain about. Despite the potential 1-Billion US Dollars lost in revenue through the lockout, the NHL and fans will move forward. The 2013 season will be adopted by every diehard fanatic, and we're ready to embrace the excitement of speedy contention.

Heavy speculation through the credentialed rumormill is that the Flyers open their season with a home-and-home "Battle of Pennsylvania" against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The first contest would take place at the Wells Fargo Center on the 19th, then our Boys head west to the Consol Energy Center on the 20th.

If true, it's obviously no coincidence. In fact, it makes the most sense. 

Coming off the 2011-12 season, the Flyers/Pens QuarterFinals Playoff Series has been deemed one of the most illustrious, blood-thirsty stretch of quarrels in League history. After damaging itself from the lockout, it would certainly behoove the NHL to activate the shortened 2013 season with one of the League's greatest rivalries. 

As a Flyers fan, if that doesn't make you starch your shorts, then you'd be happy to know some of our Fly Guys have made their way back in town, and even held an informal practice on Monday at the Skate Zone. One of which was netminder Ilya Bryzgalov, who wasted no time posting his excitement through a photo on Twitter --

Some of CSN Philly's crew attended with cameras, capturing highlights of our players on the ice, as well as a small interview with Bryzgalov in the dressing room --

Another skater returned for war is Scott Hartnell (shown in the video above), who seemed to have forgotten how to use his Gillette razor over the lockout months.

Either that's the end result of his #LockoutBeard, or he's using Andrew Bynum as a toothpick. I'm jealous, to say the least. It takes me weeks to grow a respectable beard, even at the age of 29. But even then my face winds up looking like a brush with patches of hair in its teeth. Hartnell could go to bed clean shaven and wake up with stubble that could scour the bottom of a fishing boat. 

God love him. 

As long as I have your attention, let's focus it on some more leaked CBA details. 

Per James Mirtle of The Globe & Mail, the Owners and Players will be voting on a team's ability to trade part of a player's contract. The reason for its provision is to influence MORE trades between Clubs. As Mirtle points out, here are four rules that apply to a Club retaining salary --

  1. Teams can only have three contracts on the books where they've retained salary in a trade
  2. Teams can keep only up to 15 per cent of the salary cap in a given year, meaning they would max out at $9.645-million under the $64.3-million cap that’s likely to be in place in 2013-14 and 2014-15
  3. Only 50 per cent of a contract can be kept
  4. A contract can only be traded in one of these deals twice

If all that jargon sounds complicated and confusing to you, no worries, you're not alone. Even Mirtle says it "will make following the salary cap machinations of teams even more difficult," and, thus, probably won't be agreed on.

Just when you thought the sewers of the CBA's logistics couldn't get more complex....

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