Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 07/18/05 at 05:03 PM ET
At last, the NHL’s long lockout appears to be over. In the lockout postmortem, the vast consensus amongst commentators is that the players ultimately collapsed and the owners’ have scored a major victory with this new CBA. By the end of this proposed six-year agreement, however, we will learn whether this "New NHL" will be profitable and will allow all involved (players and owners) to make more money. As a lawyer, I can honestly advise that labor negotiations can be a long and difficult process. The key is to strike a balance between resolve and reasonableness. The danger is that your side will crack if you push your side’s agenda too far. This seems to be the case with the NHLPA and its negotiating team. The NHLPA did not properly understand the resolve of the owners. Specifically, the owners were willing to shut down the league without a time limitation. The league, beaten before in prior CBA negotiations, was not giving in this time. Prior to the lockout, the owners had commissioned the Levitt Report concerning the state of the league’s dire finances and it had become the bible of their bargaining position. The owners’ point of view, as set forth in the Levitt Report, depicted a league is serious financial trouble and in need of a complete salary reform. According to the owners, part of a potential NHL rebirth required a hard salary cap.
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