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Imagine A New NHL

from Damien Cox of The Spin,

Let's imagine that next month the union actually goes out of business.

No more tired and predictable Don Fehr blather. Nobody to spin what Roman Hamrlik or Kyle Turris "really" meant.

See, it's a better world already.

Let's imagine that the NHL would no longer be able to enforce its lockout, and that all player contracts would be null and void.

Even the Scott Gomez deal. The absurd "make whole" debate would be rendered moot. Hockey players would all be left to stand on their own two feet. No guaranteed contracts or benefits. Just whatever deal they could cut for themselves.

Maybe two or more teams would go immediately out of business. Lord knows Craig Leipold has never given anyone the impression he has the slightest idea of how to run a profitable or successful hockey enterprise. How did he ever get to Gary Bettman's inner circle?

But we'd probably stay at 30 teams and more than 700 jobs. In fact, Phoenix and Florida and Columbus could probably wait until Toronto, Philly, Detroit et al spent their brains out and then cobble together a roster for $20 million or so, much more within their price range.

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Comments

tuxedoTshirt's avatar

Not enough righteous contempt Cox.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt from the Home of the 1937 World Champions on 12/21/12 at 12:32 PM ET

Joe Z.'s avatar

So Mr. Cox is actually dreaming about a free market - NHL, where capital rules. Sure there would be some benefits like Detroit getting every FA Holland and Babcock wish for. On the other hand free markets always end up accumulating wealth (=success) for a very small group,  which is the base to establish Dynasties.
I can see Toronto fans liking this idea wink

Posted by Joe Z. from Austria on 12/21/12 at 12:35 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Not enough righteous contempt Cox.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt from the Home of the 1937 World Champions on 12/21/12 at 11:32 AM ET

I don’t agree with you very often, tux, but spot on, man.

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 12/21/12 at 12:39 PM ET

RedMenace's avatar

It appears Cox’s column name, “The Spin,” is quite apropos.

Posted by RedMenace from the Church of Jesus Lashoff on 12/21/12 at 01:15 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Cox already has himself convinced that the weakest of the NHL arguments is the basis for what would happen.

I don’t believe that contracts will be rendered void if the Union is allowed to disband.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/21/12 at 01:58 PM ET

Avatar

Cox may want to blame the NHLPA for this free market never materializing, but I can’t believe the owners would be very enthusiastic either. These titans of business favor an anti-competitive market too.

Posted by thos_pratt on 12/21/12 at 02:22 PM ET

Avatar

Well, what do people want?  The NHL to look like MLB, with no real caps, or the NBA or NFL, with caps and the associated parity and compeittion?

There are up and downsides to both, but if the NHL ever went the no cap route that would spell the immediate death of competitive hockey in 80+% of current non-traditional markets, and probably a couple others that would surprise us by having owners who would be perfectly happy to spend nothing and get beat 50 times a year.

I don’t believe that contracts will be rendered void if the Union is allowed to disband.

I think it’s a longshot as well, but it’s an argument which could be made.

The thing I would be worried about, were I a player so idiotically dead set on having the SPCs enforced… is that there is a whole lot the SPCs don’t have anything to do with.

I mean, say the owners are forced to ‘honor the old deals’.  To the letter.  Well, there aren’t too many letters in an SPC that determine how players get from game to game, or where they stay, or who supplies their equipment.

The PA should be much more careful what they wish for.  They may find out ‘winning’ isn’t… winning.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 12/21/12 at 03:47 PM ET

tuxedoTshirt's avatar

And all this points to what HD?

What would the PA be doing if it were under your leadership?

Posted by tuxedoTshirt from the Home of the 1937 World Champions on 12/21/12 at 03:56 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

or the NBA or NFL, with caps and the associated parity and compeittion?

Competitively, MLB has more parity than the NBA.

 

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/21/12 at 04:04 PM ET

Joe Z.'s avatar

I mean, say the owners are forced to ‘honor the old deals’.  To the letter.  Well, there aren’t too many letters in an SPC that determine how players get from game to game, or where they stay, or who supplies their equipment.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 12/21/12 at 02:47 PM ET

I wonder where you have that information from? Have you read a player contract in detail to be able to make such an assumption? No pun intended, just being curious.

 

Posted by Joe Z. from Austria on 12/21/12 at 04:34 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I wonder where you have that information from?

The standard player contract is one of the exhibits in the downloadable pages of the 2005 CBA. HiHD is right that the SPC that was the basis for all player signings in the last 7 years specifically doesn’t mention things like travel, accommodations, and equipment (which are covered elsewhere in the CBA)

It’s possible that the owners try to nickel-and-dime their players on things like this, but it’s just as possible that the players very quickly figure out that teams who use nonstandard means of transportation and require players to go with nonstandard means of getting their equipment have a very hard time figuring out when it’s understandable and not when a player misses a flight or has a car break down or can’t get on a train or accidentally got a bad batch of sticks.

Gosh, Mr. Vinik? You’re going to void Steven Stamkos’ contract because he fell victim to the inconsistencies of the air travel industry and couldn’t make any of your west coast games?  That’s too bad. I wonder if he’ll be able to get a new contract elsewhere?

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/21/12 at 04:46 PM ET

Joe Z.'s avatar

Thank you J.J.

Somehow I doubt that Players sign standard contracts all the way. The points in the SPCs are not negotiable in my understanding, everything not written there is individual. And that’s the part where I deny HiHD’s argument that respecting existing contracts/deal could end up for the players in having to pay themselves for transport, equipment, etc. As long we don’t have a full player contract everything regarding contracts is pure speculation.

Posted by Joe Z. from Austria on 12/21/12 at 05:55 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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