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How Not To Negotiate

from Dan Oldfield at CBC,

It’s hard to believe that two parties sitting on a gold mine are wasting their time scratching through the tailings pile.

Other than the fact there is an expired collective agreement in need of renewal, there is nothing typical about these negotiations between the NHL and its Players’ Association. In the coming years, for labour geeks like me, this will make a fascinating case study about how not to negotiate a deal.

The angry drum beats and declarations of shock and disappointment are already flying, along with finger pointing. Commissioner Gary Bettman is going scorched earth, announcing all offers are off the table. Bill Daly claims player contract lengths are “the hill we are going to die on.”

Is he kidding? Really? More than $3 billion in revenue is being chucked over whether players have contracts that run more than five years?

In the meantime, union head Don Fehr seems genuinely surprised the parties aren’t as close as he thought they were. Perhaps excluding Fehr and Bettman from the meetings for a couple of days wasn’t such a good idea after all.

read on

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


Mandingo's avatar

Serious question here, I’m not playing dumb:

Can someone explain to me why the owners need the players to agree to the maximum length of contracts THEY THEMSELVES offer?

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 12/07/12 at 11:23 AM ET


To answer your question Mandingo, because if the owners just decide to collectively not offer contracts more than x number of years and the limitation clause is not in the CBA, then the players could sue the owners for collusion under antitrust law.  However, if the language is in the CBA, then the players cannot do anything because they agreed to the limitation. 

Additionally, if the terms are not in the CBA, then the league really does not have the power to negate contracts that owners and gm’s may offer that are longer than x number of years.  In other words, the owners could just continue to offer those lifetime contracts like they did during the last CBA, and the league does not want that happening again.

Posted by tjkac on 12/07/12 at 11:43 AM ET

Mandingo's avatar

Posted by tjkac on 12/07/12 at 11:43 AM ET

Got it, thanks.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 12/07/12 at 11:50 AM ET


Just like restricted free agency has brought up all kinds of collusion antitrust suits?  It’s B.S.  The owners got their 50%.  So what if the max deals are 7-8 years as long as there is some form of variance control it doesn’t matter. 

If the owners get everything they want; they could hire any 5th grader to be their GM

Posted by tbassett on 12/07/12 at 12:48 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.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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