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12-27-2012, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by blasted_Sabre View Post
I doubt it will get that far.I think the courts will side with the owners.
Going to be interesting to see what happens. The NHL itself has said the Union is unwilling to negotiate, so I would find it difficult for the NHL to go to court and say the union is negotiating on behalf of the players when it is already saying it is not negotiating.

I think the NHL filed the suit to protect itself from 3*damages. If there is no union the lock-out could be declared illegal, and then we'd get into the 3*damages. IMO the NHL doesn't care diddly about the season, they're just worried about the money they'd have to pay out.

The 43-page class-action suit filed Friday contains several potentially controversial sections, including No. 14, which calls for existing contracts to “be void and unenforceable” if the union decertifies and several of the league’s other requests are not granted.

“The similarities between this complaint and the NBA’s last year are striking,” said Nathaniel Grow, a sports labour law expert from the University of Georgia who noted both leagues use the same New York law firm, Proskauer Rose.

Grow added that the NHL’s litigious response to talk of dissolving the union wasn’t a surprise.

“The NHL would argue that today’s news that the NHLPA was beginning the disclaimer of interest process gave rise to an actual legal dispute between the parties, giving the court jurisdiction over the case,” he said.

“The league wanted to file suit first in order to decide for itself which court the case will be heard in. New York courts’ interpretation of federal antitrust and labour law is generally more favourable to the league than would be the case in other states.”

More than a prolonged court fight, pro sports unions have generally turned to a disclaimer of interest as a way to give them additional leverage in negotiations.

Whether the manoeuvre is effective is up for debate. Players in the NFL and NBA went that route last year during their lockouts, and advocates on their side still believe the move helped them get a better deal.

Jeffrey Kessler, who represented the NFLPA and NBPA in those disputes, said in both cases the players received more concessions after dissolving the union than they otherwise would have.

“In the NFL, the players concluded there was no benefit to being a union,” Kessler said. “The owners were so dug in. As a result [of disclaiming interest] they eventually settled litigation which led to them getting 55 per cent of NFL revenue last year without losing one game.

“In basketball, the players were completely stymied by impossible negotiating tactics,” he added. “So the players decided to end the union and two weeks later they reached a settlement which preserved basically their entire free agency structure with no change.

“Are those good results or bad results compared to what NHL players are facing today?”

That recent history is why, despite the growing ugliness between the two sides, many observers believe the legal battle the NHL initiated on Friday doesn’t necessarily mean the entire 2012-13 season will be wiped out.

The NBA’s example is the most striking. On Nov. 14, 2011, commissioner David Stern declared that the “season is now in jeopardy” after players filed a disclaimer of interest earlier in the day.

Twelve days later, they had a tentative agreement on a 66-game season.

“That happened only two weeks after decertification,” Kessler said. “A complete change in the owners’ position.”
If the court sides with the owner, and makes all players UFA I'd be okay with that.


The New York Rangers are the most valuable NHL franchise at $1.2 billion, taking the top spot on the Forbes list for the first time since 2004.

The magazine said Tuesday that Montreal is second at $1.18 billion, followed by Toronto at $1.15 billion.
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