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Labor Log: Some details of new NHL labor agreement, and Sidney Crosby’s reaction.

Obviously, dear readers, this is a fluid story. Please be patient as we try to track down reaction and details.

♦ Here is what Sidney Crosby told the Trib’s Josh Yohe:

“I’m really happy a deal has been reached. It’s exciting to know we will be back playing hockey.”

This blog author was in contact with Crosby late Saturday night. He, like many players and team executives, was in the dark about the marathon talks. That said, nobody is more excited than Crosby, who has played only 28 NHL games since Jan. 5, 2011.

♦ Previous blog post: http://blog.triblive.com/chipped-ice/2013/01/06/labor-log-lockout-is-over-nhl-coming-back/

Technically, it was a lockout of 112 days and about four-plus hours.

♦ Columnist Dejan Kovacevic has this quick take on the NHL and NHLPA: http://blog.triblive.com/dejan-kovacevic/2013/01/06/lockout-over-congratulations-to-almost-no-one/

♦ The main sticking points as of Saturday were over pension plan, contract rights and the salary cap. Here is what we know as of right now on those subjects:

PENSION

This was the big gain for the union, and it is a complicated subject to process in the immediacy of this moment. Just know that getting a defined pension plan, in the end, was the hill the players were going to die on, to borrow a phrase from NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly.

CONTRACT RIGHTS

There will be a season-to-season variance of 35 percent on multiyear deals.

The lowest season cannot be less than 50 percent of the highest.

When thinking of something like this, consider the long-term extension signed by Crosby in July. It was for 12 years and $104.4 million, but the Penguins will actually pay him $12 million yearly for the first five years of that deal, which kicks in next season, even though his cap hit will be $8.7 million.

Generally, owners hated what they felt were “back-diving contracts.” Those deals had a big negative impact on franchise debt ratios.

The variance rules are aimed at the “back-diving contracts.”

CONTRACT LENGTHS

Players have a 7-year max for veteran deals, but clubs can sign their own players for 8 years.

So, bottom line: When the Penguins and Evgeni Malkin sit down this summer to ink an extension, the team’s biggest selling point can be that extra, guaranteed year of money they can offer Malkin.

This actually will work in the favor of the Penguins’ plan to keep Crosby and Malkin together for their entire NHL careers.

SALARY CAP

Year 1 of the new CBA calls for a $60 million cap and $44 million floor. Clubs can spend up to $70.2 million in Year 1, though, as part of the post-lockout/short season transition.

The big mess was about Year 2 of the deal, for the 2013-14 season. All you need to know is the Year 2 cap will be $64.3 million.

BUYOUTS

Clubs are afforded two buyouts prior to the 2013-14 (Year 2) season.

More to come, no doubt. Keep checking here.

 

Cheers,

Rossi

Author: Rob Rossi

Rob Rossi is the lead sports columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has been called many names, but “Rossi” is the one to which he most often responds. He joined the Trib in November 2002 and was promoted to the columnist role in July 2014. Previously, he had covered the NHL’s Penguins (2006-14) and MLB’s Pirates (2006), while also working on beats associated with the NFL’s Steelers (2005-06) and the NCAA’s Pitt (2004-06). He has won national and local awards for his coverage of youth concussions and athletes’ charities. Also, he is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association executive committee and the Pittsburgh chapter chair. Raised in Crafton and Green Tree and a graduate of West Virginia University, he has covered a Super Bowl, All-Star Games in baseball and hockey, the NCAA basketball tournament and over 100 Stanley Cup playoff games, including the Cup Final twice. Oh, and his sports reporting has led him to brief chats with Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen; so that’s pretty cool. He is a regular contributor on TV with WPXI, Root Sports Pittsburgh and TSN. Also, he is the authorized biographer of Penguins star Evgeni Malkin.

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