Turns out all this CBA work is getting a little tiresome and the NHL wants to take a break. That’s good because there havent been enough studies done to show what kind of ill effects constant negotiation can have on the average labour lawyer.
I guess it shouldnt come as any great big surprise that the NHL has thrown its hands in the air and walked away. Sometimes when you’ve been arguing with somebody for a certain amount of time with no resolution on the horizon you need to get some space. It’s a good thing. You can settle down, let the anger subside, and start to think straight again. Maybe this time off from CBA negotiations gives both sides an opportunity to focus on what’s really important.
The cynic in most of us is probably looking at the break as a ploy by the NHL to crush the PA. A means to deny them yet another paycheck. If it wasnt enough for them to lose this many games maybe a few more will teach them a lesson. I will try not to let that kind of thinking enter my mind too much. Even if that is a side effect of the 2 weeks hopefully “Lesson Teaching” was the main motivation. It is undeniable though, every paycheck that’s lost by the players is one less than they will ever earn. Their share of HRR will be lower no matter what. Extending this stalemate is just going to take more money out of their pockets.
If I were a NHL player I would start to ask myself just what exactly I was fighting for. 50/50 is already a done deal. The league already tried to address the “Make Whole” provision. Are the contracting issue really enough to lose a season of hockey over? Contracts over 5 years are an extreme rarity, and often end up hurting the rest of the PA membership. Who does this provision hurt? 5% of the League? There are very few changes that have been proposed that I would be adamantly against as a player. The harder ones to swallow are the changes to UFA and the change to arbitration rights. And quite honestly I would be more upset about the arbitration rights issue because the threat of arbitration is a good way to get a contract done when things have otherwise stalled. Even still, the NHL has said it is willing to negotiate the “Shape” of those things. Maybe in 2 weeks the PA will re-evaluate what’s important to them and be ready to make a deal.
Hopefully for the NHL two weeks will give them some time to re-energize and focus on what’s important from the majority of owners. It has been long postulated that a small minority of owners are dominating the talks. Hopefully a 2 week break will give the rest of these Billionaires time to vocalize their opinion with the group. Tampa Bay and Phoenix might not mind some time off, but surely Edmonton and Montreal want to get going. There is money to be made in *some* cities. The only problem with that line of thinking is the niggling fact that fixing the financials for all the clubs is a surefire way for the owners to make more money, and these guys are in it for a longer haul than the players are. Hopefully though, the owners vocalize the opinion that after the 50/50 they ant too concerned about many of the contracting issues. The Pie will have a set size. How it’s divided is secondary.
Two weeks off might not be the worst thing here, but only if it doesnt serve to highten the level of mistrust and anger both sides feel for one another right now. If things go down that route, we will be witnessing the cancelation of yet another NHL season.