I will go on record as saying the season is lost as we have now entered the court system. This has never happened before on the National Hockey League that I am aware of. The league, along with the NHL Players Association, could be history depending on how this plays out.
The NHL had to enter the legal system to protect itself. The NHLPA is currently voting to declare themselves not unionized, and represented by management, anymore. Why should we care about this?
Well, you see fellow hockey fans… this is big trouble. Players would be able to sue the owners of all thirty teams on the basis of antitrust. Antitrust is when you get together to fix the pricing in the marketplace. The salary cap is exhibit A in this problem. Without a union, and without a CBA… players would be able to say the team owners are now trying to fix the marketplace through a new CBA.
This is my interpretation, and I believe it is… right on the money. I do not believe it will fly though. Why? I strongly believe, and I am not an attorney, that this will absolutely not fly as the players are making lots of money from the owners. For example: The owner of the Florida Panthers must comply with a salary cap. In basic terms, it just means the team can pay a player whatever it wants for as long as it wants, but when the contract is written it must be within Salary Cap guidelines to remain competitive with the other teams.
Another way to look at it, is that to control a team from steamrolling over the other teams, and winning the Stanley Cup year after year, this was put into place. All it really is… is a competitive measure to make sure every team has an equal chance to spend up to a certain amount for a certain amount of time. It is really each teams discretion as to what they want to do.
It was to level the playing field as there were many times that the same teams won year after year… while others didn’t have any chance of winning the Cup.
Dale Talon, General Manager of the Panthers, purged almost his entire roster to get rid of unwanted contracts a few years ago. He made a very smart move as look at the season the Panthers are coming off of. What a season, and rush, it was!
More to come in Part Two (and, believe me this will be a much longer series than NHL, Inc.) Please check the archives from a few months ago for that series. :)