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Battles Continue Between NHL And NHLPA

Yesterday I was under the weather and missed posting this in a timely manner, today I am feeling much better...

from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,

Last summer, NHL general managers wanted to eliminate the spin-o-rama from shootouts. But the NHLPA blocked it. If you can't get agreement on that, you certainly aren't going to get agreement on Pavelski's move. So we get mass confusion and a prominent player ripping the game.

How, exactly, does the sport benefit from that?

The NHL and NHLPA fought over goaltending equipment. The union was annoyed that several GMs thought the league could unilaterally change the playoff system at a November meeting (they were reminded there is a three-year commitment to the setup). The NHL was furious at the players for waiting until the last possible minute to approve hybrid icing.

I get that there's a lot of mistrust between the two sides. It's deep-rooted and it's not going away any time soon. But the owners, league office, franchises and players will never have an opportunity to make more money for themselves than they will in the next decade.

Last summer, they worked together to clarify Rule 48, a smart move that ended confusion. But too often, it becomes, "If we do this, what will you give us?"

If the NHL and NHLPA maximize the on-ice product, they will maximize wallet fatness.

more plus 30 Thoughts...

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink


Tripwire32's avatar

This is really silly in the first place. The Laws of the Game should be regulated by the National / International governing bodies and the NHL operated within that framework. With the NHL crafting the framework of the game, you really have a situation of the tail wagging the dog; and they (the NHL) are only interested in the immediate return of maximising wallet fatness, not the long term sutainment / betterment of the game. Proof is in the last ten - twenty years of the NHL game. Sure they are raking in billions of dollars, but the game itself is an illusion of what it once was; they’ve sucked the soul and personality out of the game.

Posted by Tripwire32 from the binary digisphere on 12/04/13 at 11:18 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I really wish the NHL would have gotten a management rights clause into this CBA.

Eliminating the Spin-o-Rama or defining the stutter-stop shootout move has nothing to do with player safety, so I don’t give two shits about the NHLPA’s opinion on the matter.

The Playoff system ties into existing rules about how far apart games can be scheduled, which should be the only concern for the players.  I don’t give three shits about their opinion on how seeding works once they’ve geographically rearranged the divisions anyway.

Goaltender pads?  Yeah, I think the NHLPA should have a say in that as a matter of potential player safety.

Hybrid icing?  That too.  I don’t like how it got approved last-minute, but the NHL is creating the problem on that complaint because they’re asking a democratically-run NHLPA to behave more like an autocracy and I think they’re doing it on purpose because they really don’t want the NHLPA democratically run, as it benefits them more in CBA negotiations (as evidenced by the horseshit circus that came about when the owners tried to get the NHLPA members to strike a deal without their leadership in the room and then left in a huff when the players said they had to consult with the lawyers before signing a deal).

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/04/13 at 11:46 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

Changing the game, or aspects of the game, is changing the workplace environment for those players. They absolutely should have a voice in what they’re asked to do.

I don’t care if you don’t care. Besides that, our opinions are irrelevant because neither of us do the actual work on the ice that we both love to watch. The people who do the work should have control over their work. They know the game a hell of a lot better than anyone else.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 12/04/13 at 01:38 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Changing the game, or aspects of the game, is changing the workplace environment for those players.

No it isn’t. It simply changes the parameters of their responsibilities. It’s being told you have to wash your hands every 25 minutes instead of every 30 if you’re a cook.  This isn’t a material change that makes a big enough difference of impacting their safety or the quality of what’s expected of them.

It’s a meaningless trifle to fight over and the NHLPA is fighting over it because the NHL wants to fight over other things and they haven’t figured out how to balance peacefully because the NHL’s tactics in the previous two CBA negotiations were tactics that brought about such an untrusting and contentious environment.

The playoff format fits the same category.  The NHLPA had a say in realignment and they should have because it has the potential to majorly impact player travel. They have it specifically laid out in the CBA how often they will be expected to practice and play, as well as how much time they’re required to spend “on the job” doing non-game things like practice.  All of those things are important factors for the NHLPA.  Whether they play one close team in the first round based on seeding or another close team in the first round based on seeding is not something which has an important-enough impact on the guys whose job it is to simply play those games to the best of their abilities.

The NHLPA has enough control over their work in the important matters.  When they’re given a voice on unimportant matters, the thing which makes them stronger as a union makes them useless as a partnership body on such unimportant matters.

They know the game a hell of a lot better than anyone else.

This is true, but they only know the game a hell of a lot better. Playoff seeding doesn’t effect the game of hockey; it effects the business.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/04/13 at 03:13 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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