Similar to recent NFL and NBA labor contract negotiations, the primary sticking point in the National Hockey League lockout is how to divide the money.
Under the contract that expired in mid-September, players received 57 percent of hockey-related revenue. Owners reportedly are asking for a 50-50 split, which is similar to what NFL and NBA players agreed to.
Players want a guarantee they'll annually receive at least $1.8 billion in salaries, the amount that was paid last season. If the owners get a 50-50 split, players would get back more than $200 million a year at current NHL revenue levels.
Another bargaining point is the owners' insistence on redefining “hockey-related revenue,” which would reduce the pool of money available to players in a restructured deal. Another issue is players want owners to include more revenue sharing to help small market teams.
Reports indicate owners are willing to dig in, similar to eight years ago, when the entire 2004-05 season was lost. Attendance didn't suffer much when play resumed the following year, so owners are confident fans will return again.
NHL players are not paid during the lockout. If the lockout lingers, some players will sign with European teams but would return to the NHL once a new deal was signed.
HOW LONG WILL THE LOCKOUT LAST?
It's anybody's guess when the National Hockey League lockout might end, but conjecture is the two sides probably need to reach an agreement around Thanksgiving, similar to Christmas being a key date during NBA negotiations last year.
If the two sides don't sign a new deal by Christmas, the NHL season probably will be lost, similar to 2004-05.
Some analysts predict a new contract will be signed around Thanksgiving, with the season possibly starting in mid-December. But in player/owner pro sports disputes, history reveals anything is possible.
One reason Thanksgiving is a key date is that's about the time HBO would start filming the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs for its “24/7” series, leading up to the Jan. 1, 2013, Winter Classic at the University of Michigan.
HBO's hugely popular “24/7” series would include personal interviews with players on and off the ice to promote the outdoor game, which is a key event for NHL advertisers.
The Oklahoma City Barons will have three talented young Edmonton Oilers on their roster during the lockout. If the lockout continues until late November, the Barons have 16 games scheduled before Thanksgiving, including 10 home games in the Cox Convention Center.
During the lockout eight years ago, some notable NHL players benefitted from playing in the American Hockey League.
Ottawa's Jason Spezza was similar to Edmonton's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who will play for the Oklahoma City Barons. Coming off a solid rookie NHL season, Spezza played with the Binghamton Senators in 2004-05.
Eric Staal was a 100-point player with the Carolina Hurricanes the season after the lockout. During 2004-05, Staal scored 77 points in 77 games with the Lowell Lock Monsters.
Boston center Patrice Bergeron, who has 143 career NHL goals, played for Providence Bruins during the lockout at age 19. Los Angeles Kings All-Star winger Dustin Brown played for the Manchester Monarchs in 2004-05.