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Is it possible the NHL dug itself into a deep hole on purpose?

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11-01-2004, 11:06 PM
  #1
Gary
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Is it possible the NHL dug itself into a deep hole on purpose?

Was just thinking today of some of the ludicrous contracts players have gotten over the last few years and was thinking-I wonder if the NHL knew that eventually the way things were going there would be major financial problems so maybe they sped up the process intentionally? For what reason? Is it possible they themselves esculated salaries at a alarming rate knowing full well that for the new CBA the NHLPA would have almost no other recourse then to cave into their demands or a impasse could be reached with next to no problem and they'd get their collective way sooner rather then later? It's interesting to note also that the owners have been saving up a "warchest" for years now. I'm not coming out with any facts here-just thinking if others think maybe the NHL intentionally screwed itself up real bad in order to get their way sooner rather then later? Is it possible the Rangers GM called up Sinden and said "Get this-I just signed Holik for $9 million!! That's got to be the worst deal yet-even worse then the Yashin contract. I'll probably get a raise for this. <laughs long and hard>" I know this much-When the NHL presents its case in court...How is any judge going to deny them a impasse for the way players salaries have skyrocketed? Maybe its a coincidence. Who knows?

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11-01-2004, 11:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary
Was just thinking today of some of the ludicrous contracts players have gotten over the last few years and was thinking-I wonder if the NHL knew that eventually the way things were going there would be major financial problems so maybe they sped up the process intentionally? For what reason? Is it possible they themselves esculated salaries at a alarming rate knowing full well that for the new CBA the NHLPA would have almost no other recourse then to cave into their demands or a impasse could be reached with next to no problem and they'd get their collective way sooner rather then later? It's interesting to note also that the owners have been saving up a "warchest" for years now. I'm not coming out with any facts here-just thinking if others think maybe the NHL intentionally screwed itself up real bad in order to get their way sooner rather then later? Is it possible the Rangers GM called up Sinden and said "Get this-I just signed Holik for $9 million!! That's got to be the worst deal yet-even worse then the Yashin contract. I'll probably get a raise for this. <laughs long and hard>" I know this much-When the NHL presents its case in court...How is any judge going to deny them a impasse for the way players salaries have skyrocketed? Maybe its a coincidence. Who knows?
Under US labour law you have to show you have bargained in good faith and been flexible in order to make a declaration of impasse stick.

MLB could not do it and there was significant bargaining, movement, a federal mediator and even intervention by President Clinton. The NLRB still threw out the impasse and directed the owners to play two more years under the previous MLB CBA.

The chances of the NHL getting a declaration of impasse are slim and none - and slim has left the building.

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11-01-2004, 11:21 PM
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I don't think it would matter if an arbitrator were involved. Both sides have vehemently rejected an arbitrator. It's a shame really. If an arbitrator were involved, I think a deal could be reached that would be acceptable to all.

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11-01-2004, 11:22 PM
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Under US labour law you have to show you have bargained in good faith and been flexible in order to make a declaration of impasse stick.

But will a court believe the NHLPA has bargained in good faith when the league can show documents showing how much $$$ they've lost and the best Bob Goodenow can come up with is "Well if 2 franchises declare bankruptcy then make a team in Huston?" or "If someone can't afford to play a player X amount of $$ then someone else will (thereby still driving up salaries and hurting the lower market teams?) Bob has'nt made TO ME 1 valid reason why he's taking the stance he is and why he's so much against cost certainty. It's pretty evident in his mind that the players should basically get whatever they want and to hell with the league. Everything he says, the way he acts-all point to this...In a court of law do you suppose that would be overlooked? The NHL is cleary trying to stablilize the entire league as it is while Bob and company dont seem to care if 5 teams have to fold as long as they get their $$$...to me, that's a impasse-and a major one, and if the owners are losing the millions of dollars is'nt it up to the courts to see whether or not the NHLPA has bargained in good faith and not vice versa? After all-they will be the ones taking it to court.


Last edited by Gary: 11-01-2004 at 11:26 PM.
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11-01-2004, 11:42 PM
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wetcoaster
The chances of the NHL getting a declaration of impasse are slim and none - and slim has left the building.
I myself wouldn't put it in those harsh terms, but yeah, it certainly isn't the cakewalk many here think it should be.

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11-02-2004, 08:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary
Under US labour law you have to show you have bargained in good faith and been flexible in order to make a declaration of impasse stick.

But will a court believe the NHLPA has bargained in good faith when the league can show documents showing how much $$$ they've lost and the best Bob Goodenow can come up with is "Well if 2 franchises declare bankruptcy then make a team in Huston?" or "If someone can't afford to play a player X amount of $$ then someone else will (thereby still driving up salaries and hurting the lower market teams?) Bob has'nt made TO ME 1 valid reason why he's taking the stance he is and why he's so much against cost certainty. It's pretty evident in his mind that the players should basically get whatever they want and to hell with the league. Everything he says, the way he acts-all point to this...In a court of law do you suppose that would be overlooked? The NHL is cleary trying to stablilize the entire league as it is while Bob and company dont seem to care if 5 teams have to fold as long as they get their $$$...to me, that's a impasse-and a major one, and if the owners are losing the millions of dollars is'nt it up to the courts to see whether or not the NHLPA has bargained in good faith and not vice versa? After all-they will be the ones taking it to court.
I would think right now the NLRB would have to say so far the players have bargained in good faith. The players countered the owners proposal but we have yet to see anything back from the owners. Add to the fact is the players proposal is less than the current CBA it helps. (i know it's not what we would like but it's something)

Now if the players were saying we wont take anything but the current CBA then i would agree with you. But they have done a little to the owners nothing.

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11-02-2004, 08:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JWI19
I would think right now the NLRB would have to say so far the players have bargained in good faith. The players countered the owners proposal but we have yet to see anything back from the owners. Add to the fact is the players proposal is less than the current CBA it helps. (i know it's not what we would like but it's something)

Now if the players were saying we wont take anything but the current CBA then i would agree with you. But they have done a little to the owners nothing.
JWI,
You don't really believe that do you. They did not counter, what they did was took their offer from last October made it worse and represented it to the NHL. SOmething that took a whole lot of thought and effort, maybe 3-minutes worth. This doesn't constitute a proposal in my mind. If anything it was more of a "slap in the face". The owners have offered 6 different proposals and say we count the last NHLPA proposal as one, that then adds up to 2 proposals from the NHLPA. In my opinion it's in the players court to make the next move something they feel shows a sign of weakness and therefore will not do until the last possible minute, and we are where we are today.

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11-02-2004, 09:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taranis_24
JWI,
You don't really believe that do you. They did not counter, what they did was took their offer from last October made it worse and represented it to the NHL. SOmething that took a whole lot of thought and effort, maybe 3-minutes worth. This doesn't constitute a proposal in my mind. If anything it was more of a "slap in the face". The owners have offered 6 different proposals and say we count the last NHLPA proposal as one, that then adds up to 2 proposals from the NHLPA. In my opinion it's in the players court to make the next move something they feel shows a sign of weakness and therefore will not do until the last possible minute, and we are where we are today.

It's show some albeit a little good faith and thats all you need with the NLRB. The owners have not shown any good faith in bargaining because they have not submitted another proposal since their 6 (pretty much the same) offers. If i was Goodenow, i would send the owners another proposal similar but give up a little more to the owners to help their chance infront of the Labor Board. The owners are taking a huge chance, just like MLB did and MLB got slapped around by the NLRB and was forced to resume play under the old CBA. This could very well happen in the NHL.

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11-02-2004, 10:07 AM
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taranis_24
Something that took a whole lot of thought and effort, maybe 3-minutes worth. This doesn't constitute a proposal in my mind.
And how long do you think it took the owners to write out "salary cap" on their six proposals?

I have looked into the impasse option and this is what I can surmise. If the NHL wants to declare an impasse, it can only do so in the US, that legal concept does not exist in Canada. The National Labor Relations Board governs labour practices and with 24 of the 30 teams, it makes sense that the NLRB would most likely be the one to resolve the question of good faith bargaining.

Both sides are bound by U.S. law to continue bargaining while the NLRB investigates any charges. Declaring an impasse is a huge risk for the owners since no one cannot predict what the NLRB is going to do. If they determined that the owners bargained in bad faith, they are liable for a back pay and damages, which would surely drive the league into bankruptcy (maybe this is their strategy so they can start fresh, I dunno).

The issue of replacement workers in Canada is different since provincial labour boards are responsible and they all have different standards and practices. It is illegal to use replacement workers in Quebec and British Columbia. An argument I could see the owners trying to make is that hockey players are not employees but are independent contractors who are not covered by the labour code. Tough sell but then I always wondered why owners started refering to players as "assets" in recent times. There are also questions about whether the provinces recognize the NHLPA as a certified union which would give it protection from replacement workers taking their jobs. I read in an article that the Ministry of Labour in Quebec, has stated that hockey players are not covered by the labour code there, so that is one in favour of the owners.

The only winners in this mess are the lawyers.

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