We’ve been awaiting the announcement for hub cities for almost a week now, and the wait for the NHL’s final decision will continue until tomorrow at the earliest, per TSN’s Bob McKenzie. Two hub cities will be chosen from the group of Las Vegas, Edmonton, Toronto, Chicago, and Los Angeles. The decision, however, cannot be made in a vacuum, hence the delay. The NHL and NHLPA are also discussing the logistics of phases 3 and 4 of the return to play initiative, as well as particulars of the CBA, tweets Louis Jean of TVA Sports.
Coming to terms on an extension for the Collective Bargaining Agreement is a particularly daunting task given the short timetable and potential long-term impact of any accord. The escrow cap and revenue sharing are significant fiscal negotiations that could hold up a swift agreement between the league and the players. Some players, such as the Rangers’ Artemi Panarin, have been vocal about needing to fix escrow before players report to camp.
There is some cause for urgency, especially with the impending July 1 date for when teams are supposed to pay out signing bonuses. There’s talk of deferment, but nothing conclusive. As it stands today, over $300MM in bonuses are scheduled to be paid out by Wednesday. There is also the issue of the salary cap, which is likely to remain at $81.5MM for the next two seasons, per McKenzie (Twitter links). These issues are not supplemental. Rather, they are some of the most crucial points of negotiation between league owners and the Players’ Association, and it’s far from a done deal that the two sides can compromise.