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.