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It took 119 long, excruciating days, but NHL games are finally in sight. The NHL and NHLPA came to a tentative agreement after a 16-hour marathon negotiating session in New York ended around 5 a.m.
That means all the talk about escrow and disclaimers of interest will soon turn into talk about forechecking and line brawls. Bruins fans will be hearing a lot less from Donald Fehr and a lot more from Rene Rancourt and Jack Edwards.
The season is likely to begin in a couple weeks although the exact date is not known, while training camp will begin at the end of this week.
A few of the major points from the new collective bargaining agreement.
Overall, it is a pretty good deal for the players after they were clearly outmatched during the 2004-05 lockout. If you look at the demands from the league’s original offer last summer and what the final deal ended up being, you can see the difference between having someone like Fehr who has negotiated big CBA’s before as opposed to Bob Goodenow in 2004-05.
Most importantly, is that the Fehr, Gary Bettman and the owners realized they couldn’t cancel a full season again. They have gained momentum, especially in Boston, after the last few years and a full season cancellation would put them right back to where they were eight years ago. They may not get all the fans they lost back, but the diehard and I believe most of the casual fans still remain. The league will be coming back right as the NFL begins to enter their off-season. All of those fans will looking for something to watch and with a compressed schedule and NHL games on television every night, those fans will remember just how awesome hockey really is.