What We Learned: Saving NHL from its potential free-agent apocalypse (Puck Daddy)

Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend's events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it. Maybe we were all wrong. Most of us really did doubt the resolve of Gary Bettman and the Board of Governors' elder council of bloodthirsty owners. The legal filings made on Friday afternoon at about 4:59:59 p.m., as a preemptive strike against the NHLPA doing the same at a slightly later date, seem to indicate as much. Not that I fully comprehend all the legal wranglings contained therein, obviously, nor do most hockey writers — we're not lawyers — but my understanding is that it is asking a New York court to rule that the NHLPA, which it has been trying to smash to smithereens during this entire lockout, doesn't have the legal right to smash itself as a means of gaining leverage against the NHL in ongoing negotiations. The threat of decertification has loomed large for more than a month now, and no one at league offices likes that prospect one bit, hence the filing. We've been told, repeatedly, that this kind of move prompted the NBA to reach a CBA agreement with its players in just a week, in time to get the season started on Christmas Day. That's obviously not going to happen for the NHL at this point, but hopeful (see also: blindly optimistic people who can't have been paying much attention) say that New Year's Day might be a more reasonable target. If only the NHLPA were to cave under this latest legal threat. And now, it seems there might be a pretty damn good reason for it to do so: "The NHL requests a declaration that, if the NHLPA's decertification or disclaimer were not deemed invalid by the NLRB, and the collective bargaining relationship between the parties were not otherwise to continue, all existing contracts between NHL players and NHL teams (known as Standard Player's Contracts or "SPCs") would be void and unenforceable," the league's filing said (top of page 8). Boiling that down to the simplest terms possible, the league wants the court, in the event of a decertification or disclaimer of interest, to make it so that all player contracts are null and void. Essentially, that means every player in the NHLPA, all 700-plus, would be a free agent. ( Coming Up: Teemu has lost his smile; Dustin Brown moves his family to Switzerland; Matthew Corrente done for the season; enough with the Justin Schultz-as-Paul Coffey stuff; Marian Hossa is cleared to play and promptly locked out; Stephane Robidas ate reindeer; who as the NHL's deepest prospect pool?; Mike Richter vs. the lockout; SF Bull pack in fans at the Shark Tank; Penguins fans aren't buying NHL gear; Jordan Eberle is bonkers.)

Posted under NHL

Comments are closed.

More on This Topic