NHL Lockout 2012: It Doesn't Look Good

GLENDALE, AZ - MAY 07: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (R) speaks at a press conference to discuss the potential sale of the Phoenix Coyotes to Greg Jamison (L), former CEO of the San Jose Sharks, before the start of Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals between the Phoenix Coyotes and the Nashville Predators during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Jobing.com Arena on May 7, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

As the Sep. 15 deadline looms, there's been almost no progress in negotiations between the players and the owners. At this point, the season is clearly in jeopardy.

There's only a few days left in the CBA negotiations between the NHL and the NHLPA, but the situation is no better than it was a month ago. There have been numerous meetings in that time (though no formal meetings for the past week) but the main issues have still gone unresolved and it looks the NHL is surely headed towards a lockout.

Two points in particular though have been the biggest issues in the CBA negotiations and are the main talking points of the meetings:

1) The biggest issue here is revenue sharing between the players and owners. Owners are losing a significant amount of money with the current CBA. As it currently stands, players get 57% of the revenue while owners get the remaining 43% and those owners are dead set on significantly reducing the players' percentage.

At worst, the owners want the even 50-50 split but they're aiming for 55% or even more of that sharing. The players' last offer here was a 52-48 split in the player's favor that would get closer to 50-50 with each passing year, but the owners promptly rejected that and want the players to get 46%.

Unless the players are willing to go there, I just don't see how there's an agreement here. The owners are desperate to get some of their money back.

2) The other gigantic issue has to do with the salary cap and reduction of player contracts. Owners have proposed limiting contracts to five years max and reducing the salary cap to $58 million, $12 million less than the current cap.

The problem here is that it would immediately put 16 teams over the salary cap.

Another problem is that owners have been more than willing to hand out contracts that go over the five-year limit. Just take a look at the extensions and contracts given out this summer, a majority of which were given out after CBA negotiations started:

Shea Weber: 14-years, $110 million with Nashville
Zach Parise: 13-years, $98 million with Minnesota
Ryan Suter: 13-years, $98 million with Minnesota
Taylor Hall: Seven-years, $42 million with Edmonton
Jordan Eberle: Six-years, $36 million with Edmonton
Jeff Skinner: Six-years, $34.35 million with Carolina
Max Pacioretty: Six-years, $27 million with Montreal
Wayne Simmonds: 6-years, $23.875 million with Philadelphia
Scott Hartnell: 6-years, $28.5 million with Philadelphia

While owners campaign for a limit on contract years, they've been more than willing to hand out massive ones at the same time to try and circumvent than own rules if there's an agreement. It'll be a miracle to figure out an agreement here.

There's been some fascinating activity in the negotiations the past few days though. The NHLPA has stated that they would be willing to start the season without a CBA and continue negotiations concurrently with the season, but the NHL rejected that as well.

Meanwhile, the Montreal Canadiens are attempting to take the NHL to court to avoid being locked out, claiming it's against Quebec law. If nothing else, it's a sure sign the lockout is on its way and fans should prepare for a year without NHL hockey.

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