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What are the some of the other issues between the NHL and the players?

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Question: What are the some of the other issues between the NHL and the players?
Update: The NHL lockout ended in July, with a six-year collective bargaining agreement. For the details see:
  • How the NHL Salary Cap Works
  • Highlights of the New NHL Deal
  • New NHL Rules for the 2005-06 Season
  • Answer:
    1. Free Agency - The players want a lower age threshold for unrestricted free agency. Currently, most players do not qualify for the open market until they turn 31. Considering that most are drafted at the age of 18 or 19, they have no freedom of movement for the first 12 or 13 years of their career. The players would also like a little more freedom of movement for younger, restricted free agents. The NHL is believed to be flexible on this issue.

    2. The Rookie Salary Cap - The current cap on rookie salaries is toothless, because teams can offer lucrative performance bonuses on top of the maximum salary. The NHL would like a more restrictive rookie cap, and the players are believed to be amenable to this.

    3. Salary Arbitration - The owners, who lose most arbitration cases, are said to be looking for adjustments to the salary arbitration system. They want the right to take players to arbitration (currently, only players can request arbitration). The players are reported to be unwilling to compromise.

    4. Length of Schedule - Reports say the two sides plan to cut the regular season by as much as ten games per team. Players believe the current 82-game season leaves them fatigued and more vulnerable to injury. The owners are said to be willing to reduce the schedule because tickets for weeknight, early season games are a difficult sell in many cities.

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