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A "scab" league...


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#1 Oregon Canucky

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:09 PM

So i have a couple of questions to ask, mostly because im just curious about such things.

Is this lack of CBA a breech of contract for NHL players? Can they all legally quit and play for another league?

Cant we get a scab league or something? It seems that some owner could sell his team and instead start his own league... How hard could it be!? (... i know im ignorant, but really... why not!?)

anyone have a couple billion and a ton of lawyers laying around to get started!?

Edited by Oregon Canucky, 07 December 2012 - 12:10 PM.

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#2 goalie13

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:32 PM

The way I understand it, without a Collective agreement in place, they are free to play wherever they want. That's why we've got guys signing in Europe and directly with AHL and ECHL teams. However, if they ever get it together and agree on a new CBA, then all existing contracts would still be in force based on the provisions of that CBA.

So they can't just walk away completely.

As for starting a new league, the biggest problem after financing would be locations. Most of the best hockey towns already have NHL teams that have existing leases on the best buildings, or they own the building themselves as in the case of the Canucks. For those with leases, no doubt, do not allow the landlord to rent to a competing business. So where would they play that they would be able to get rinks big enough and a population substantial enough to support a new league?

As an example, look at the original WHA. It was mostly in non-NHL cities... Calgary, Houston, San Francisco, Quebec, Hartford, Winnipeg, Cleveland, etc. Of those that went to existing NHL cities they tried to rent from the NHL team and it was a disaster.
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#3 Drybone

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:34 PM

The union has no rights in the NHL right now. There is no Collective Bargaining Agreement. This means the NHL can simply go draft new players and use lower level replacement players until the new drafted players mature. Allow the new players to form a new NHL union and make a very similar deal they offered the NHLPA . Start playing under that new CBA.

Then wait and see if the NHLPA players will break with the union and come back to the new NHL union. Their other option is to de certify and try to sue the NHL to uphold their contract .

On the other hand, the current NHL players could try to form a new league which I always call a 'new WHA ' (World Hockey Association) . This turns them into owners and is not their strong suit. They know nothing of ownership nor marketing nor leasing arenas .

Even if they somehow got enough economic interest to form a few teams, they would be trying to compete with the NHL for the newly drafted talent and its unrealistic to believe any of them would prefer to play in this new WHA as opposed to just going to the NHL.

What is more likely is the NHLPA stars can travel around like the harlem globetrotters playing exhibitions for a while. Then they would have to go to the KHL or bend over and renounce their NHLPA membership and return to the NHL.
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#4 goalie13

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:45 PM

The union has no rights in the NHL right now. There is no Collective Bargaining Agreement. This means the NHL can simply go draft new players and use lower level replacement players until the new drafted players mature. Allow the new players to form a new NHL union and make a very similar deal they offered the NHLPA . Start playing under that new CBA.


I don't know about labour laws elsewhere, but BC does have a law against the use of replacement workers during a labour dispute. I believe Ontario and Quebec have similar rules. So although that may be permitted in the U.S. as we saw with the NFL Referees, you couldn't do that here. The Canucks would have to play all their games on the road.
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#5 Langdon Algur

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:47 PM

OP you are incorrectly usiing the term 'scab'. If the players played in another league that won't be a 'scab' league since they are the ones locked out and the union isn't forbiding them to play else where. If the owners however hired non NHLPA players to play in a 'NHL' league then this new NHL would be a scab league.
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#6 J.R.

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:57 PM

Everybody keeps going on about the players forming their own league or the NHL bringing in scab players. I actually wonder what the chances (legal issues would be) of some of the owners breaking up the league and starting their own new one...?

You'd have to think most if not all of the Canadian teams and the guys from the likes of Detroit, NYR, Pits etc would at least consider it. They've already got the arenas and I assume rights to their team logos etc that everyone keeps bringing up. I'd wager they could come up with an agreeable CBA with the "New League" PA as they tend to be the "rich" teams. They'd have to negotiate new media/sponsor agreements but that wouldn't likely be TOO difficult given existing framework.

This would allow them to also ditch the money siphons of the league (I'm looking at you Phoenix) allowing them to likely keep more of their own profits and ditch douche nozzles like Jacobs if they choose or at the very least remove him from his current position of power if they decide to let him in their sandbox.

If I was one of those owners I'd be looking in to it....

Edited by J.R., 07 December 2012 - 12:58 PM.

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#7 Provost

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 01:20 PM

This is why I have said for a few weeks that the PA should put a drop dead date for when they are willing to negotiate for this season.

Players are obligated to comeback an honour their contracts if a deal is reached. It is stopping many of them from seeking and getting alternate employment. European teams and other leagues would be much more willing to sign guys if they knew they would have them the entire season.

If the PA makes it clear that after say the 15th of December they will only be negotiating a CBA for the 2013-2014 season.

Players would then make other plans en masse, and the owners would have a real gut check on whether they want to lose the season or not. Right now they just think they can squeeze for a few more concessions and have all the control.

I can totally see the players and PA having a mini-league for the rest of the year with no NHL. Whatever players don't find employment in other leagues can do a bunch of those Bieksa's buddies type of games. There is plenty of demand for a couple of games like this a week in most of the major markets. You play in the secondary arenas in each town; give XX% of the gate to charities; have the players on the winning team of each game get to choose the charities of their choice to spur competition; get into a broadcast deal for the games; etc.

You even have a reasonable chance of winning a court battle to actually award the Stanley Cup for your playoffs. The NHL doesn't own it, and it is owned by the league with the highest level of hockey competition in North America. Pretty good argument that any other league beats out the NHL which plays no games. Any one of the lower leagues could make this case, but they don't really want to sour their relationship with the NHL by doing so.
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#8 Langdon Algur

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:06 PM

You even have a reasonable chance of winning a court battle to actually award the Stanley Cup for your playoffs.  The NHL doesn't own it, and it is owned by the league with the highest level of hockey competition in North America.  Pretty good argument that any other league beats out the NHL which plays no games.  Any one of the lower leagues could make this case, but they don't really want to sour their relationship with the NHL by doing so.


Wow so the AHL could award the Stanley Cup if there's no hockey this year. That would be crazy!!!
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#9 Drybone

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:07 PM

I don't know about labour laws elsewhere, but BC does have a law against the use of replacement workers during a labour dispute. I believe Ontario and Quebec have similar rules. So although that may be permitted in the U.S. as we saw with the NFL Referees, you couldn't do that here. The Canucks would have to play all their games on the road.


This isnt a labor dispute. A labor dispute is when employees or contractors have a dispute with ownership or vice versa.

This is not that case. This is a labor force who has no contract. They dont work for the NHL anymore. If the owners had locked them out under a current CBA , then there would be a legitimate beef by the players. Or the players went on an illegal strike under contract. Or there was some work condition that was not kosher.

This is simply like living in an apartment and your lease runs out. The landlord can give you due notice to leave and rent it to someone else or try to negotiate a new lease (under whatever is legal in BC)

So the players are in over their heads on this one. This is exactly how the owners locked them out for a year last time. They own the league and the players own nothing.

I think its quite a myth for fans to think the NHLPA owns anything or has any rights over the league when it no longer has a Collective Bargaining Agreement
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#10 Drybone

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:08 PM

This is why I have said for a few weeks that the PA should put a drop dead date for when they are willing to negotiate for this season.

Players are obligated to comeback an honour their contracts if a deal is reached. It is stopping many of them from seeking and getting alternate employment. European teams and other leagues would be much more willing to sign guys if they knew they would have them the entire season.

If the PA makes it clear that after say the 15th of December they will only be negotiating a CBA for the 2013-2014 season.

Players would then make other plans en masse, and the owners would have a real gut check on whether they want to lose the season or not. Right now they just think they can squeeze for a few more concessions and have all the control.

I can totally see the players and PA having a mini-league for the rest of the year with no NHL. Whatever players don't find employment in other leagues can do a bunch of those Bieksa's buddies type of games. There is plenty of demand for a couple of games like this a week in most of the major markets. You play in the secondary arenas in each town; give XX% of the gate to charities; have the players on the winning team of each game get to choose the charities of their choice to spur competition; get into a broadcast deal for the games; etc.

You even have a reasonable chance of winning a court battle to actually award the Stanley Cup for your playoffs. The NHL doesn't own it, and it is owned by the league with the highest level of hockey competition in North America. Pretty good argument that any other league beats out the NHL which plays no games. Any one of the lower leagues could make this case, but they don't really want to sour their relationship with the NHL by doing so.


I am eager to talk common sense with someone from the players point of view . But you have to agree to be honest and open minded.

I dont understand what power it is the NHLPA has. Perhaps you can explain it to me.
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#11 Langdon Algur

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:12 PM

I am eager to talk common sense with someone from the players point of view . But you have to agree to be honest and open minded.

I dont understand what power it is the NHLPA has. Perhaps you can explain it to me.


The NHLPA controls the players, without the best players in the world there is no NHL level hockey peroid. The NHL markets players but the NHLPA has the power to decide if these players play or not. If the PA had no power there would be NHL hockey now.
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#12 Provost

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:16 PM

Wow so the AHL could award the Stanley Cup if there's no hockey this year. That would be crazy!!!


They "could" but they will never do it because the NHL pays all their bills.
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#13 Drybone

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:24 PM

The NHLPA controls the players, without the best players in the world there is no NHL level hockey peroid. The NHL markets players but the NHLPA has the power to decide if these players play or not. If the PA had no power there would be NHL hockey now.


So the NHL owns the league and the NHLPA owns the current group of players who play in the NHL. They have a union whereas they can decide not to play in the NHL. Fair enough.

Can you explain how this 'union' stops the NHL from getting AHL and otherwise European players to come play in the NHL . More importantly, how does the NHLPA stop the new players from being drafted into the NHL and forming a new union with the scab players?
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#14 goalie13

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:27 PM

This isnt a labor dispute. A labor dispute is when employees or contractors have a dispute with ownership or vice versa.

This is not that case. This is a labor force who has no contract. They dont work for the NHL anymore. If the owners had locked them out under a current CBA , then there would be a legitimate beef by the players. Or the players went on an illegal strike under contract. Or there was some work condition that was not kosher.

This is simply like living in an apartment and your lease runs out. The landlord can give you due notice to leave and rent it to someone else or try to negotiate a new lease (under whatever is legal in BC)

So the players are in over their heads on this one. This is exactly how the owners locked them out for a year last time. They own the league and the players own nothing.

I think its quite a myth for fans to think the NHLPA owns anything or has any rights over the league when it no longer has a Collective Bargaining Agreement


Huh? This fits exactly the definition of a labour dispute. Their collective agreement has run out, they need a new one and neither side can agree on what that will be.

The way you write it, any employer that doesn't like its union could just wait until their collective agreement runs out and then walk away from the union. But it just doesn't work that way. It's nothing like living in an apartment.

In BC, at the very least, once your workforce unionizes you have no choice but to work with that unionized workforce. You cannot simply choose to switch to another workforce. That's part of the power that the players have here.
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#15 TOMapleLaughs

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:30 PM

So the NHL brings in replacement players...


...Anyone go to the games?
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#16 J.R.

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:36 PM

So the NHL owns the league and the NHLPA owns the current group of players who play in the NHL. They have a union whereas they can decide not to play in the NHL. Fair enough.

Can you explain how this 'union' stops the NHL from getting AHL and otherwise European players to come play in the NHL . More importantly, how does the NHLPA stop the new players from being drafted into the NHL and forming a new union with the scab players?


They don't stop them. That's not the point.

The point is they have a highly inferior quality player pool which will have a negative effect on the league's ability to sell tickets, sell TV rights, sell sponsorship, sell merchandise and in a very broad sense, (and the one that matters most to the owners) a VERY negative effect on their ability to make a profit.

Edited by J.R., 07 December 2012 - 02:37 PM.

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#17 Drybone

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:41 PM

Huh? This fits exactly the definition of a labour dispute. Their collective agreement has run out, they need a new one and neither side can agree on what that will be.

The way you write it, any employer that doesn't like its union could just wait until their collective agreement runs out and then walk away from the union. But it just doesn't work that way. It's nothing like living in an apartment.

In BC, at the very least, once your workforce unionizes you have no choice but to work with that unionized workforce. You cannot simply choose to switch to another workforce. That's part of the power that the players have here.


I disagree. Show me the labor law where it states you have to deal with the same union forever , regardless if you hate their demands. I would really like to see this. Since you say it fits the perfect description of labor law, you should have no problem finding it in law.

Come bring it here. I think that is utter nonsense. So if you build a business, and your work force chooses to unionize, the owners NO LONGER have the right to FIRE their employees.

Is this what you are honestly trying to suggest? You MUST deal with that union forever? The union has rights over your own business.......even though they own none of the business.

Again, go get the law and show me.
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#18 Drybone

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:43 PM

They don't stop them. That's not the point.

The point is they have a highly inferior quality player pool which will have a negative effect on the league's ability to sell tickets, sell TV rights, sell sponsorship, sell merchandise and in a very broad sense, (and the one that matters most to the owners) a VERY negative effect on their ability to make a profit.


But thats only temporarily. They are continually replacing the players now, let alone under 'scab' conditions. And further to this, why would the lower level guys...........such as say Kyle Wellwood or Taylor Pyatt............agree to sit out as an NHLPA member instead of simply breaking with the union and coming back to the NHL ?

What would stop them from doing that?
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#19 J.R.

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:49 PM

But thats only temporarily. They are continually replacing the players now, let alone under 'scab' conditions. And further to this, why would the lower level guys...........such as say Kyle Wellwood or Taylor Pyatt............agree to sit out as an NHLPA member instead of simply breaking with the union and coming back to the NHL ?

What would stop them from doing that?


How many teams do you think can simply wait it out until the talent level rises? They do that and I'd bet close to ten teams fold in the next few years anyway.

As for your second question...far too many unknown parameters to even begin to guess.

Edited by J.R., 07 December 2012 - 02:50 PM.

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#20 J.R.

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:51 PM

Everybody keeps going on about the players forming their own league or the NHL bringing in scab players. I actually wonder what the chances (legal issues would be) of some of the owners breaking up the league and starting their own new one...?

You'd have to think most if not all of the Canadian teams and the guys from the likes of Detroit, NYR, Pits etc would at least consider it. They've already got the arenas and I assume rights to their team logos etc that everyone keeps bringing up. I'd wager they could come up with an agreeable CBA with the "New League" PA as they tend to be the "rich" teams. They'd have to negotiate new media/sponsor agreements but that wouldn't likely be TOO difficult given existing framework.

This would allow them to also ditch the money siphons of the league (I'm looking at you Phoenix) allowing them to likely keep more of their own profits and ditch douche nozzles like Jacobs if they choose or at the very least remove him from his current position of power if they decide to let him in their sandbox.

If I was one of those owners I'd be looking in to it....


Nobody has any comments on this...? :blink:
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#21 Drybone

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:53 PM

The way I understand it, without a Collective agreement in place, they are free to play wherever they want. That's why we've got guys signing in Europe and directly with AHL and ECHL teams. However, if they ever get it together and agree on a new CBA, then all existing contracts would still be in force based on the provisions of that CBA.


So by your own admission, without a CBA, the players can do what they want and play where ever they want. But the owners cannot hire whomever THEY want to play in the NHL since the union has no contract.

You cant have it 15 different ways. Guys are going around signing and playing wherever they want, but according to you the NHL has to deal only with them and cant hire anyone else.

I think your argument just fell apart.
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#22 Drybone

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:55 PM

How many teams do you think can simply wait it out until the talent level rises? They do that and I'd bet close to ten teams fold in the next few years anyway.

As for your second question...far too many unknown parameters to even begin to guess.


This is a valid point. I would have to agree that the talent level would be less but until I saw the product I have no idea if fans in Florida or Phoenix would even notice the difference. lol.
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#23 J.R.

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 03:03 PM

This is a valid point. I would have to agree that the talent level would be less but until I saw the product I have no idea if fans in Florida or Phoenix would even notice the difference. lol.


Or would they lose the few fans they have now making them lose even more money? Would the "rich" teams who've been keeping them afloat make enough to sustain themselves, let alone the weak market teams?

I think you also under-estimate the fans ability to give them a big "FU" if they did this. Sure it wouldn't be permanent and eventually they might win them back in say 5+ years... but if even the rich teams become poor ones overnight even for a few years...the league's dead.
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#24 goalie13

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 03:08 PM

So by your own admission, without a CBA, the players can do what they want and play where ever they want. But the owners cannot hire whomever THEY want to play in the NHL since the union has no contract.

You cant have it 15 different ways. Guys are going around signing and playing wherever they want, but according to you the NHL has to deal only with them and cant hire anyone else.

I think your argument just fell apart.


They're not my laws. I didn't write them. I'm just going off of experience I have had in a couple of different labour disputes in the past.

But basically, your first line is correct. Here's the section from the BC Labour code...

Replacement workers

68 (1) During a lockout or strike authorized by this Code an employer must not use the services of a person, whether paid or not,

(a) who is hired or engaged after the earlier of the date on which the notice to commence collective bargaining is given and the date on which bargaining begins,

(B) who ordinarily works at another of the employer's places of operations,

© who is transferred to a place of operations in respect of which the strike or lockout is taking place, if he or she was transferred after the earlier of the date on which the notice to commence bargaining is given and the date on which bargaining begins, or

(d) who is employed, engaged or supplied to the employer by another person,

to perform

(e) the work of an employee in the bargaining unit that is on strike or locked out, or

(f) the work ordinarily done by a person who is performing the work of an employee in the bargaining unit that is on strike or locked out.

(2) An employer must not require any person who works at a place of operations in respect of which the strike or lockout is taking place to perform any work of an employee in the bargaining unit that is on strike or is locked out without the consent of the person.

(3) An employer must not

(a) refuse to employ or continue to employ a person,

(B) threaten to dismiss a person or otherwise threaten a person,

© discriminate against a person in regard to employment or a term or condition of employment, or

(d) intimidate or coerce or impose a pecuniary or other penalty on a person,

because of the person's refusal to perform any or all of the work of an employee in the bargaining unit that is on strike or locked out.


I'll try to find you the other bit about how once certified, the employer is basically stuck with that union...
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#25 RonMexico

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 03:11 PM

I disagree. Show me the labor law where it states you have to deal with the same union forever , regardless if you hate their demands. I would really like to see this. Since you say it fits the perfect description of labor law, you should have no problem finding it in law.

Come bring it here. I think that is utter nonsense. So if you build a business, and your work force chooses to unionize, the owners NO LONGER have the right to FIRE their employees.

Is this what you are honestly trying to suggest? You MUST deal with that union forever? The union has rights over your own business.......even though they own none of the business.

Again, go get the law and show me.


If a company wants to get rid of a union, they must close the business down first. Then wait a period of time, generally speaking, 1 year plus 1 day before they can re-open without a union in place. This doesn't happen much anymore. The company will usually just permanently shut down the operation.
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#26 Provost

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 03:19 PM

I am eager to talk common sense with someone from the players point of view . But you have to agree to be honest and open minded.

I dont understand what power it is the NHLPA has. Perhaps you can explain it to me.


Basically exactly what I said. The players can play elsewhere for a reasonable salary. It is less than the NHL, but they also don't have to work near as hard.

The owners have massive overhead even without games being played that they have to pay. They also will face dropping franchise valuations. It is against the law in many jurisdictions for them to hire replacement workers.

To say that the players have no power is silly. They are the thing that the fans want to go see. I would pay $100 for a ticket to watch Bieksa's buddies play at the Pacific Colosseum. I would not pay $100 to watch the Canucks or league management wander around the ice at GM place.

I am not saying that the players have all the power, but they have a lot more than what has been flexed so far.
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#27 Provost

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 03:24 PM

Nobody has any comments on this...? :blink:


I don't think it is unreasonable at all to believe that if the season is lost you are going to have franchises who are disillusioned with the NHL. I don't see it happening in the near future though.

It all depends on what is going on behind closed doors with the board of governors. If it is 7 teams holding the rest hostage based on the numbers needed to over-ride Bettman... then this is a distinct possibility. If they are largely on board with the league strategy then they will just wait for the players to crack.
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Protons have mass? I didn't even know they were Catholic!

#28 J.R.

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 03:31 PM

I don't think it is unreasonable at all to believe that if the season is lost you are going to have franchises who are disillusioned with the NHL. I don't see it happening in the near future though.

It all depends on what is going on behind closed doors with the board of governors. If it is 7 teams holding the rest hostage based on the numbers needed to over-ride Bettman... then this is a distinct possibility. If they are largely on board with the league strategy then they will just wait for the players to crack.


...and if they don't?
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#29 Provost

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 03:33 PM

...and if they don't?


They will eventually... no doubt about it. It is simple math on the owner's side though. When does holding out for it make less sense than actually making a deal. I don't see the owners being willing to ditch the season for the remaining few concessions they are trying to wring from the players.

I don't think a player run league is a real answer long term, it is a great bargaining strategy for the remainder of the season though.
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Protons have mass? I didn't even know they were Catholic!

#30 Smashian Kassian

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 03:38 PM

So the NHL owns the league and the NHLPA owns the current group of players who play in the NHL. They have a union whereas they can decide not to play in the NHL. Fair enough.

Can you explain how this 'union' stops the NHL from getting AHL and otherwise European players to come play in the NHL . More importantly, how does the NHLPA stop the new players from being drafted into the NHL and forming a new union with the scab players?



The players have contracts. Under the union system it isnt illegal for the NHL to lock them out without pay like this, but if the NHL got replacement players the PA would just decetify and sue them. Thats how they have some power in that sense.
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