Many are reporting that the NHL has made a new offer to the NHLPA in hopes of ending the seemingly never ending NHL Lockout. While it feels as though the NHL has been moving slowly more and more toward the players, this new offer could be the tipping point. According to Pierre LeBrun via ESPN, the new offer includes:
• Term limit on player contracts moves to six years from the five years NHL asked in previous offers (seven years if you’re re-signing your own player).
• Year-to-year salary variance moves from 5 percent (NHL’s previous offers) to 10 percent.
• Each team will be allowed one compliance buyout before the 2013-14 season that will not count against the salary cap but will count against the players’ share.
• The Make Whole provision stays at $300 million.
This seems like an offer that the players won’t want to pass up, but that doesn’t mean that they will accept it. We have seen over the past month, and even before, when the NHL makes concessions the NHLPA finds a new topic that they feel needs to be addressed. The ability of the Fehr brothers to manipulate those in the media and NHL into believing the players are poor and defenseless in this process has seemed to work incredibly well. The big question for me is how long of a CBA is in this offer. The players want a short term deal that they can renegotiate in another 5 years while the owners are looking for a long term plan to avoid any further stoppages. For the good of the league, I would hope that the agreement would last at very least 10 years as the NHL has asked before, but if they were smart they would make a deal for 15-20 to avoid any further such lockouts.
The question still remains though, what impact will this have on the St. Louis Blues? With new ownership in place, it is slightly more difficult to guess what the team will do to bring back their fans. Tom Stillman and the crew do have some things working for them though. The St. Louis Cardinals have been quiet for the most part this off-season leaving news coverage basically focusing on the Rams. With the Rams not making the post season, this leaves a hole in the large St. Louis sports market. Perhaps the new ownership will be able to salvage the season and fill Scottrade once an agreement is reached.
On the player’s side of things, the Blues have many of their core playing overseas in shape to start the season with a bang. The KHL’s season is quickly coming to an end and Tarasenko would be in prime condition to fill a top 6 role. In Peoria, Schwartz has been playing very well and seems ready to fill a bottom six role with the big club. Ian Cole was given more time to develop and looks as though he will be ready as well.
With a shortened season, the older leaders of the Blues like Langenbrunner and McDonald, so long as they stay healthy, should be able to push just as hard as the young core. This could benefit the team come the playoff push and could perhaps bring the first cup to St. Louis in its history. The only question then would be does this season come with a big asterisk on the cup? Since the season will be shortened, will it take away from the glory if the Blues did capture their first Championship? I say no, the team has fought long and hard and been a playoff team for much of its past. We have had teams that deserved to win a cup but never pulled together in the end or were held back by injury. If any team out there deserves a Cup, it is St. Louis.
So let’s hope the players see this as their chance to play in the most elite league in the world again. Let’s hope the Blues can come back strong. And let’s pray that we have hockey in the next month.
As always, LET’S GO BLUES!