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Owners Do Not Have To Honor Player Contracts

from Peter Adler of The Cult of Hockey,

Do you realize that the fate of this NHL season depends on a phantom issue?

Yes. It’s most unfortunate, but that’s how it is.

What seems to be the main stumbling block? Why, the idea that the owners have to honour player contracts signed under the rule of the previous collective bargaining agreement.

The strangest thing is the league doesn’t really even have to entertain this idea, never mind make any offers to make players “whole,” as the legalistic description has it.

continued

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

Comments

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Bingo!

Posted by HockeyinHD on 10/27/12 at 05:33 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

What seems to be the main stumbling block? Why, the idea that the owners have to honour player contracts signed under the rule of the previous collective bargaining agreement.


I don’t know a single person saying the owners have to honor the contracts.  But why would the player union agree to a new CBA that doesn’t?  Do you see the real hang-up?  The other way is just an owner friendly presentation of the facts.  It’s also the shadiest part of these “negotiations” considering the contracts doled out in recent years.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 10/27/12 at 05:44 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

“Players Don’t Have To Agree To A New CBA That Doesn’t Honor Their Current Contracts”

Stating it the other way makes it seems like the players are unfair for asking that of the NHL.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 10/27/12 at 05:50 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Do you realize that the fate of this NHL season depends on a phantom issue?

Yes. The phantom issue is the assumption that the players have to give back money in order to make the league stable.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 10/27/12 at 05:58 PM ET

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I don’t know a single person saying the owners have to honor the contracts.

Nah, just a bunch of people saying the owners are evil greedy and evil (and greedy) for not doing it.  And that it is wrong to not do it.  Et cetera.

Yes. The phantom issue is the assumption that the players have to give back money in order to make the league stable.

People in comas are stable.  Stability isn’t the issue.  The NHL could have just signed a 57-43 deal for the players again and things would have been ‘stable’.

The issue is ease of profitability for small-market teams that the NHL is (stupidly IMO, but whatever) jamming into non-trad markets without having to gut the profitability of big market teams the NHL needs to drive it’s brand.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 10/27/12 at 06:25 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

The issue is ease of profitability for small-market teams that the NHL is (stupidly IMO, but whatever) jamming into non-trad markets without having to gut the profitability of big market teams the NHL needs to drive it’s brand.

And without a means to profitability for those teams?

Instability.

You don’t need to re-word the point to say it isn’t the point, you know.

The league just hasn’t produced the evidence of the necessity for the players to bear the majority of the burden for this.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 10/27/12 at 06:32 PM ET

joedaiceman's avatar

Facts are funny things when they run up against demagogues like Fehr. The owners have no legal or moral obligation to make the players whole and it is nice that someone finally pointed this out - a rather remarkable event in midst of all the hogwash you hear from most of what is called hockey journalism.

Of course the players can ask that they be made whole as part of the negotiations. But spare me the whining about “owners honoring their contracts” that are not valid now that the CBA is kaput. Playres should stop the whining - man up - and start negotiating. Besides, the owners have the upper hand because they have the money and they take the risk and they will utlimately get what they want one way or another.

Posted by joedaiceman on 10/27/12 at 08:32 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

“owners honoring their contracts” that are not valid now that the CBA is kaput.

The contracts are absolutely valid. That’s why it’s a lockout.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 10/27/12 at 08:39 PM ET

Winged20Wheel's avatar

No moral obligation to honor the contracts they signed just a few short months ago??  If they negotiated those contracts knowing they weren’t going to honor them that is absolutely immoral. And just not very nice either, I might add

Posted by Winged20Wheel on 10/28/12 at 12:20 AM ET

Hockeytown Wax's avatar

If the owners were ultimate a$$holes, they would have snuck in the following:

All current contracts are deemed null & void if a new CBA is not signed before the 365th day of last CBA’s expiration.

If nothing is signed by next July, I’d like to see all existing contracts torn up and everybody becomes a UFA ... everybody starts from scratch under whatever bizarre CBA Bettman and the owners come up with.  Players can’t agree to a new CBA?  Fine ... we tear everything up and start all over.

Shame they have to waste an entire year in order to do that but oh well ... anything to stop the bickering and get back to playing hockey.

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 10/28/12 at 02:54 AM ET

soletrain's avatar

oh yes the players should bend over and take it hard right up the a$$ with no lube. Sounds like a party….i wish a rhino would find this writer and make love to his man hole.

Posted by soletrain on 10/28/12 at 02:56 AM ET

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And without a means to profitability for those teams?

Instability.

I don’t think stability means what you think it means.

1.
the state or quality of being stable.
2.
firmness in position.
3.
continuance without change; permanence.
4.
Chemistry . resistance or the degree of resistance to chemical change or disintegration.
5.
resistance to change, especially sudden change or deterioration: The stability of the economy encourages investment.

The NHL could continue making barely 130 mil between all the teams in the league almost indefinitely.  As has been said before, most pro sports owners own lots of other stuff so the NHL can be used as an excellent ‘profit hole’ they can shuffle their corporations and/or business groups earnings into to avoid tax liability.

Stability isn’t necessarily a good thing, though.  A team could lose 5 mil every year and be ‘stable’.  A team could make 5 mil every year and be ‘stable’.  ‘Stable’ is a meaningless term with regards to the issues at play.

The league just hasn’t produced the evidence of the necessity for the players to bear the majority of the burden for this.

You seem to be asserting a rather comprehensive knowledge of what has or has not been presented to the NHLPA by the NHL, JJ.  From whence do you derive that information?

Personally,

The contracts are absolutely valid.

Absent a functioning CBA the contracts are meaningless because the SPCs themselves are silent on any of a million different issues.  In general the only things SPCs touch on are term, dollars and clauses regarding player movement.

The NHL could simply implement their version of a ‘CBA’ (minus the ‘B’, and really the ‘C’.  And the ‘A’) and then either have the players show up or then accuse them of ‘striking’.

That’s why the terms ‘lockout’ or ‘strike’ are pretty useless when there isn’t a functioning, valid CBA from which one is being locked out from or striking to avoid.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 10/28/12 at 12:29 PM ET

Avatar

Do you know that the players do not have to accept a 50/50 split? The lockoui is based on the owner’s phantom issue! Baddazingo.

It is a lockout, not a strike. You can pretend otherwise, but that means you do not understand the definition of the words that deine the issue at hand..

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 10/28/12 at 01:13 PM ET

Avatar

,

they would have snuck in the following

This isn’t a healthcare law, the NHLPA’s representatives read the thing before they agreed to it.  The NHLPA should ahve just snuck in all contracts are worth double for ten years if the CBA is not re-newed if that were the case.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 10/28/12 at 01:16 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

A team could lose 5 mil every year and be ‘stable’.  A team could make 5 mil every year and be ‘stable’.  ‘Stable’ is a meaningless term with regards to the issues at play.

You have lost yourself in your own semantics to the point where you’re quibbling over what you think “stability” means in this discussion. Yikes.  I’m defining stability by what everybody other than you already knows I meant without having to dig to the middle-schooler’s go-to method of starting out an English assignment.

You seem to be asserting a rather comprehensive knowledge of what has or has not been presented to the NHLPA by the NHL, JJ.  From whence do you derive that information?

You seem to be misunderstanding that I am asserting my own opinions. I am not convinced the players should have to give back money and the league has not produced the information necessary for that.

Wait… are you assuming that you and I are somehow having this battle on behalf of the NHL and NHLPA from a position that we’re the ‘experts’?  I think you might be overstating both of our positions here. That’s a little sad.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 10/28/12 at 01:27 PM ET

Avatar

You have lost yourself in your own semantics to the point where you’re quibbling over what you think “stability” means in this discussion.

Then your definition of ‘stability’ has an inference which isn’t present in the actual definition of ‘stability.

That’s fine, of course, but it’s something you should be more specific about.

Are you saying that there exists some other means for the NHL to achieve the cost savings they are seeking from player share?  If you are, considering we’re talking about 7 points of a $3.3 B pie, I’m curious to see where else you think the league and/or its teams could come up with 200ish mil a year.

You seem to be misunderstanding that I am asserting my own opinions. I am not convinced the players should have to give back money and the league has not produced the information necessary for that.

“The league just hasn’t produced the evidence of the necessity for the players to bear the majority of the burden for this.”

Does that sound like a statement of opinion or a declaration of fact?  I don’t think every sentence has to be appended with ‘IMO’, but come on… it’s pretty tough to try and shade that statement after the fact as just you giving your own personal opinion.

Wait… are you assuming that you and I are somehow having this battle on behalf of the NHL and NHLPA from a position that we’re the ‘experts’?

Oh, God no.  I’m just curious why you’re so certain of your position given your rather higher level of cynicism concerning information which ran contrary to it.  I had assumed since you were so reluctant to accept financial information from a publication that does stuff like that professionally you had access to some counterbalancing data.

This isn’t a healthcare law, the NHLPA’s representatives read the thing before they agreed to it.  The NHLPA should ahve just snuck in all contracts are worth double for ten years if the CBA is not re-newed if that were the case.

19, that’s all fine in theory and whatnot, but you do remember that the last CBA had some pretty bleeped up codicils and blind spots in it, right?  Those things all just didn’t arrive by accident.

Yes, Bettman was an idiot who could see three years down the road, but the long term contract loophole, the cap-floor spread, the step up of player share… some of those things were added and written in with intent.

I think that’s what is being talked about when one refers to ‘sneaking something in’.  It’s about writing an innocent-seeming codicil that ends up being a major kick to the balls.  Fehr tried a little of that in the last two of his three counteroffers to the NHL’s last deal.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 10/28/12 at 10:22 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

That’s fine, of course, but it’s something you should be more specific about.

Again, you’re the only person who seems to have a problem understanding what I’m saying. This isn’t no child left behind. If you can’t keep up, I’m not going to keep pausing for you.

Does that sound like a statement of opinion or a declaration of fact?

I’m flattered that you made me an insider in your head, but let’s give everybody else credit here.

I’m just curious why you’re so certain of your position given your rather higher level of cynicism concerning information which ran contrary to it.

As already confirmed for you, I am absolutely positive that the NHL has failed to produce evidence to sway my opinion on whether the players have a necessity to take a pay cut. Based on what I know about what information the NHLPA has received and what I’ve read about Gary Bettman’s reaction to them asking for more financial data, I’m fairly confident that the NHLPA isn’t convinced in the necessity that I believe and think IMO the league would like for everybody to believe of a cut to the players’ share or the definition of HRR to which that share is tied.

Your apparent inability to separate fact from opinion in obvious cases goes a long way to explaining why you present things like “half the league is losing money” as though you know.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 10/28/12 at 10:58 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

The point is that if contracts are offered with the understanding that at the expiration of the CBA they won’t be honored, they are in fact negotiated in bad faith if they run beyond that CBA. When contracts are negotiated in bad faith, the victim of the contract is to be made whole. This is basic contract theory.

Perhaps in the next CBA, they’ll put a 10 year term on the agreement. If I were a player or an agent, I’d be damned sure not to sign any contract that straddles the CBA, because these owners cannot be trusted to honor their word.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 10/29/12 at 10:53 AM 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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