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05-06-2004, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom_Benjamin
Since contracts are dated, I would have said that the contracts would expire before the Alexei Yashin arbitration case. If I was, say, a John LeClair who stands to lose the final year of a five year deal at $9 million, I'd file a grievance citing the Yashin case as precedent.

Yashin refused to play even though he had a valid contract. The arbitrator made a bizarre ruling and extended the contract for a year. In the imaginary LeClair case, the owners will be refusing to put on the games even though LeClair has a valid contract. Why shouldn't his contract be extended too?

Other players like Brent Sopel and Matt Cooke will be on the final year of a contract that underpays them. They could be filing grievances the other way, insisting that their contracts have expired.

The NHLPA may argue that the players should be able to have it both ways. LeClair has the option to extend, Cooke have the right to allow his deal to expire.

The Yashin case can be differentiated quite easily, however, based on the fact that there was no event of force majeure in his situation. The league was operating, everyone was playing. The situation is quite different when, in this example, there is an event of force majeure that prevents either side from fulfilling its obligations under the contract. I would expect the players to be getting some form of compensation, even in the event of a force majeure termination/expiration, but we would need to see the actual contracts to know for sure. Anyway, interesting issue.

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