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Bettman has played this perfectly!

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07-06-2005, 11:08 PM
  #1
David A. Rainer
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Bettman has played this perfectly!

Say what you will about Bettman (and I probably would agree with nearly all of it), but Bettman, from a labor strategy stand-point, has played the game PERFECTLY. Judging by several considerations, but specifically the number of players that are coming out and stating that they made a huge mistake, the NHLPA has been soundly defeated. Brutalized. Beaten-up. Nearly broken.

I have had the unique opportunity to handle labor law cases for several years at the law firm I used to work at. Granted, they were cases involving migrant farmers and not sports franchises, but many of the issues are the same.

1. The longer a labor dispute continues, the more in favor of management the balances tip. The tendency is that in the very beginning of a labor dispute, management has the immediate leverage. Then, as time goes by the leverage begins to tip towards labor as they become better organized on the fly and rally support around them. However, after that period, if the dispute continues, management begins again to gain favor over labor as the long, drawn-out "waiting game" usually plays in management's favor because they have more long-term weapons at their disposal than labor.

Bettman has waited out the players and turned the issue completely in the favor of management.

2. The side that prepares for the dispute the best and earliest often wins the dispute. Irrespective of what the issues are that are being bargained for, preparation is everything. The side that can get their finances in order and has the forward thinking to plan for every possible contingency, is going to be the stronger, more solidified, side.

Bettman has been preparing the owners, both strategically and financially, years in advance and they are now reaping the rewards. The players never believed the owners resolve to win this dispute and took the situation lightly. They have lost as a result.

Many pages have been written about just what the financial situation of many of the NHL owners are. Are they rich? Are they poor? Are they cooking the books? Well, if you subscribe to actions speaking louder than words, then it can be argued that the owners resolved to wait this out for as long as it took speaks volumes about what their true financial situation is. If they were willing to strangle the golden goose to fix the CBA, they just might have been in dire financial need.

I firmly believe that books are going to be written aboout this victory (well, in Canada anyway). Not just for the immediate, sports-related significance, but for the long-term tactical labor leasons that it can teach for scholars of labor law and labor conflict theory. If this occurred against the MLBPA, this would have been one of the single most significant management victories in the last 50 years. Say what you will about Bettman, but he piloted the ship masterfully.

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07-06-2005, 11:48 PM
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Also, keep in mind that perhaps the ONLY reason Bettman was able to carry out any strategy at all was because of what he did after the 94-95 work stoppage.

He flipped things so that as long as he had 8 owners on his side, the other 22 couldn't do anything about it. In 94-95, it only took a simple majority of 14 owners to go behind his back and they did just that. In fact, NINE owners voted against the 94-95 CBA. If the owners are to vote down what Bettman recommends THIS time, it will require TWENTY THREE votes. If he'd had the same power then, it would have been THAT season that was cancelled and the NHL would have had the cost certainty it is now getting.

Bettman made sure he had the power this time and he made use of it.

Talk about preparation...

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07-07-2005, 12:19 AM
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David A. Rainer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jt
Talk about preparation...
Exactly what I was thinking while reading your post. That all goes towards the preparation side of it.

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07-07-2005, 01:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jt
Also, keep in mind that perhaps the ONLY reason Bettman was able to carry out any strategy at all was because of what he did after the 94-95 work stoppage.

He flipped things so that as long as he had 8 owners on his side, the other 22 couldn't do anything about it. In 94-95, it only took a simple majority of 14 owners to go behind his back and they did just that. In fact, NINE owners voted against the 94-95 CBA. If the owners are to vote down what Bettman recommends THIS time, it will require TWENTY THREE votes. If he'd had the same power then, it would have been THAT season that was cancelled and the NHL would have had the cost certainty it is now getting.

Bettman made sure he had the power this time and he made use of it.

Talk about preparation...

Great observation jt. that and the fact that he knew he had the economic factors in his favor as well as those hardline teams who were willing to wait it out.

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07-07-2005, 05:42 AM
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...

In other words, Bettman is the Devil.

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07-07-2005, 09:51 AM
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I'm going to wait until this gets through the ratification process with the PA before declaring Bettman a genius...Rumors had the PA pretty much split and after looking at the pieces Helen's put out, I think it's less likely that 50% will vote this up.

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07-07-2005, 10:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by King Blazer
I'm going to wait until this gets through the ratification process with the PA before declaring Bettman a genius...Rumors had the PA pretty much split and after looking at the pieces Helen's put out, I think it's less likely that 50% will vote this up.

I disagree. More than 50% of the players have more to lose or have already lost a significant amount of money / playing time. The hard cap effects the Ziggy Palffy's and Bill Guerins of the league, where as it effects the Sean Avery's, Jeff Cowan's, Derek Armstrongs etc more by not playing. Add in the facts that older players(yzermans, luc's, etc) want there last run and I think you will see the players voting it in and getting back on the ice.

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07-07-2005, 10:48 AM
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When this happens, it will be somewhere in the range of 70-30 in favor of ratification

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07-07-2005, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by go kim johnsson
When this happens, it will be somewhere in the range of 70-30 in favor of ratification
It very well could...

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07-07-2005, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by King Blazer
I'm going to wait until this gets through the ratification process with the PA before declaring Bettman a genius...Rumors had the PA pretty much split and after looking at the pieces Helen's put out, I think it's less likely that 50% will vote this up.
Definitely not classifying him as a genius. But he has not made a single tactical error in the labor dispute. Irrespective of what the final deal actually brings, he has steered the owners to this point while accomplishing nearly every objective given him.

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07-07-2005, 11:44 AM
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David A. Rainer
Definitely not classifying him as a genius. But he has not made a single tactical error in the labor dispute. Irrespective of what the final deal actually brings, he has steered the owners to this point while accomplishing nearly every objective given him.
Until it's ratified, I don't see it as accomplishing anything. It seems to be heading to a deal that heavily favors the owners. I'm just wondering if maybe they've gone TOO far into the owners favor??? Only time will tell...

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07-07-2005, 12:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt13
I disagree. More than 50% of the players have more to lose or have already lost a significant amount of money / playing time. The hard cap effects the Ziggy Palffy's and Bill Guerins of the league, where as it effects the Sean Avery's, Jeff Cowan's, Derek Armstrongs etc more by not playing. Add in the facts that older players(yzermans, luc's, etc) want there last run and I think you will see the players voting it in and getting back on the ice.
Not only that but some of the older guys need to start looking at what it will cost them in terms of "career earnings". If Palffy doesn't get back on the ice pretty soon, he's going to have lost TWO WHOLE YEARS of salary and nomatter what kind of deal the NHLPA eventually gets (even if it's better than the one on the table right now), he'll never get most of that money back. Nor will Jagr or Lidstrom or Blake or Pronger or alot of other guys who's earnings potential is at the maximum RIGHT NOW...and will only go down next year and the year after. Up and comers like Avery, Frolov, Cammy, Brown are actually the ones IMO who should vote against this if they think they can get a better deal by waiting (which I don't think they could but that's beside the point).

But I think this is going to be ratified by a clear majority.

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07-07-2005, 05:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by King Blazer
Until it's ratified, I don't see it as accomplishing anything. It seems to be heading to a deal that heavily favors the owners. I'm just wondering if maybe they've gone TOO far into the owners favor??? Only time will tell...
People keep forgetting that the big winners in all of this could be Europe. The whole talk of Crosby going to Switzerland for the money, the fact that many Europeans only come over here for the money, the new economics could kill the global face of the game and keep talent in Europe where the teams will pay for it. As the NHL tries to improve it's game skill wise they may not realize that they could see a giant outflux of skill. If that's the case Bettman still loses as his new economic certainty could see the league reduced to second tier players as the first tier goes for an easier season and more money across the pond.

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07-09-2005, 06:11 PM
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No, it's not that Bettman played it perfectly, it's that Goodenow played it all wrong, and let his ego get in the way. Goodenow screwed the players over royally with not taking the league's offer in February. For that, he lost alot of the players trust and in my opinion, lost his job.

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07-09-2005, 06:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T2M
People keep forgetting that the big winners in all of this could be Europe. The whole talk of Crosby going to Switzerland for the money, the fact that many Europeans only come over here for the money, the new economics could kill the global face of the game and keep talent in Europe where the teams will pay for it. As the NHL tries to improve it's game skill wise they may not realize that they could see a giant outflux of skill. If that's the case Bettman still loses as his new economic certainty could see the league reduced to second tier players as the first tier goes for an easier season and more money across the pond.
And the NHL suffered from lack of skill BEFORE the Euro invasion????

Please...stop this Euro's not coming crap. There is 1 NHL and it IS the stage for hockey. It has enough drawing power to make players play through the cap. In case you haven't noticed, even WunderSid WANTS to play in the NHL even under the cap. Ovechkin just said the same. Both with Euro/Rus teams offering significantly more money.

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07-10-2005, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blitzkriegs
And the NHL suffered from lack of skill BEFORE the Euro invasion????

Please...stop this Euro's not coming crap. There is 1 NHL and it IS the stage for hockey. It has enough drawing power to make players play through the cap. In case you haven't noticed, even WunderSid WANTS to play in the NHL even under the cap. Ovechkin just said the same. Both with Euro/Rus teams offering significantly more money.
That's because once their rookie contracts are over they will be big earners, providing they live up to their potential. I'm talking about middle of the road Euros. The NHL did not suffer from the lack of skill before the Euro invasion but it also had 10 less teams to stock at the time. As for the NHL being the 1 stage for hockey, I don't believe that. I believe that in many countries it is the Olympics and World Championships that are the stage for hockey. We get spoiled on our professional leagues, but that's because we grow up on them. I feel pretty safe in saying that we will see a serious decline in the number of middle of the road Euros in the future.

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07-10-2005, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T2M
That's because once their rookie contracts are over they will be big earners, providing they live up to their potential. I'm talking about middle of the road Euros. The NHL did not suffer from the lack of skill before the Euro invasion but it also had 10 less teams to stock at the time. As for the NHL being the 1 stage for hockey, I don't believe that. I believe that in many countries it is the Olympics and World Championships that are the stage for hockey. We get spoiled on our professional leagues, but that's because we grow up on them. I feel pretty safe in saying that we will see a serious decline in the number of middle of the road Euros in the future.
Your beliefs are incorrect. A tournament - Olympics/WC's - are a limited stage for hockey because it's less than one month. It is a big stage, sure. It's not THE stage because it's not a season culimanated by months of play. Please find me a LEAGUE that rivals what the NHL is...

And why do you want middle of the road Euro's? In they are 'middle of the road' Euros', then most likely they are NOT getting the rookie cap to begin with. So, where is your point?

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