Preparing For An NHL Lockout On The Island

There was likely a reason that Islanders RFA's Rhett Rakhshani, Mark Katic and Justin DiBenedetto opted for Europe before being tendered their qualifying offers by GM Garth Snow. A potential lockout is looming that could delay or even cancel the 2012-2013 season and these young prospects still need to play in order to continue their development. (Photo Credit: lighthouse_li/Flickr)

There is only 24 days left for the NHLPA and the owners to reach an agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement or the season will be locked out, likely forcing a later start date than October 11th. 

Hockey fans can look back to the 2004-2005 season that was entirely scrapped from a lockout due to disagreements on a new CBA between the NHLPA and the owners. 

Although NHLPA representative, Donald Fehr is optimistic of coming to a resolution before the Sept. 15th deadline, reports are indicating that there is still a wide gap between both sides when it comes to player salaries, contract length, eligibility of unrestricted free agency, and revenue sharing - the most critical point of discussion in these meetings.

TSN explains that the owners want a much more significant decrease in player salaries, while the NHLPA is looking to expand the revenue sharing so that poor market teams would be distributed $250 million from teams that are more profitable during the regular season. However, this would not really effect the salary cap or the cap floor, where the owners plan would change it dramatically. 

These looming issues are perhaps weighing in on Garth Snow's decision making when it comes to re-signing a player like Matt Martin to a new contract. However, if the cap is decreased significantly going into next season, the New York Islanders will be in a great position to aide higher spending teams with shedding some salaries in order to get below the salary cap since the Isles still have plenty of room to spend. 

But as a hockey fan it is hard to look at a potential lockout situation with any positive expectations. Hockey needs to be played in October - bottom line. A late start could potentially hurt the status of the game dramatically. The league has come very far since the last lockout and should do everything in it's power to prevent another delayed or canceled season. 

With that said, neither NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman or Fehr are scheduled to meet again with each other until the middle of next week.

Bettman is already responsible for two lockouts under his watch. With the way things are going, don't be surprised if he nets the hat trick.

-Rob McGowan

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