I know the basics-- the player comes up with a salary, the team comes up with a salary, they argue their cases before an arbiter, then he comes up with a decision. BUT, there are specifics that I have never been clear on:
1. Is it now baseball-style(arbiter chooses one or the other without the option of a number in between), or not. Both on these boards and elsewhere in the mainstream media I've read both. TSN's CBA FAQ does not address this question.
2. When each party submits their proposal, are they aware of what the other has/will submit? If Jiri Crha KNEW that the Sens were going to submit a serious lowball number that the arbiter would in all likelihood see as being well below market value, would he be more likely to submit a ridiculously high number? Likewise, if Sens management knew that the Hossa camp was submitting an unrealistic $7m+ number, would they feel more confident asking for a lower number ("we were gonna offer him $5.5m, but when he asked for $7.5m, we knew that the arbiter would have to see $4.5m as much closer to his true value")? If one side submits first and the other can see it before making their offer, it would seem to put one side at an advantage.
3. What comparables are permissable? I've heard varying opinions, but cannot find anything definitive: comparables must be RFA contracts as opposed to UFA, must play the same position, must be of roughly the same age, must be "objective"(hard stats, awards, defineable achievements like top 10 scoring, etc) as opposed to "subjective"(intangibles like leadership, "heart", individual's effect on overall team performance, physical play, defensive awareness, etc) I don't even know if there are any hard rules for the arbiter to follow, or if he can just make up his own criteria and make a decision....
These questions will all have a bearing on the outcome of Marian Hossa's hearing...Thornton and Lecavalier both have inferior stats to Hossa's and are about the same age, but play a different position and are their teams' captains....Hejduk would seem to be the most apt comparable because of stats, position and accomplishments (at least Sens fans hope so).....I don't know how the hell Nash's contract fits into anything....
If anyone can shed any light on the above questions, I'd appreciate it....
Obviously nobody is going to know for sure how it works under the new CBA, but here is the relevant part of the old CBA: http://www.nhlfa.com/CBA/cba_agreement12.asp ... I'm no lawyer, so I'm not going to try to put it in English.
According to the Team earlier this week, it is NOT baseball-style, high/low arbitration. The arbitrator still has the power to choose a number anywhere in the middle. I also recall that comparables have to be RFAs, not UFAs, but that's all I can tell you for sure.
From reading the above link on the old CBA:
- both sides exchange "briefs" 48 hours in advance of the hearing, detailing their case
- the club elects either a one-year or two-year term and the arbitrator can decide on that also (although I bet that has changed)
- prior offers are off the table
- the "financial condition" of the team cannot be considered, which I assume extends to cap space
- the decision must be rendered within 72 hours
Evidence presented includes:
(A) the overall performance, including
official statistics prepared by the League (both offensive and
defensive) of the Player in the previous season or seasons;
(B) the number of games played by the
Player, his injuries or illnesses during the preceding seasons;
(C) the length of service of the
Player in the League and/or with the Club;
(D) the overall contribution of the
Player to the competitive success or failure of his Club in the
(E) any special qualities of
leadership or public appeal not inconsistent with the fulfillment
of his responsibilities as a playing member of his team;
(F) the overall performance in the
previous season or seasons of any player(s) who is alleged to be
comparable to the party Player whose salary is in dispute;