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CBA Update: November 23, 2012: What's Being Said

Bruce Bennett

First off, the NHL has cancelled games through December 14th and the All Star Game (to be held in Columbus) as well.

With minimal progress made after the NHLPA submitted their big proposal earlier this week, frustrations were to be expected...from everybody...players, ownerships and fans. Gary Bettman announced that the sides are still "far apart". With that, the newest cool terminology in these god forsaken negotiations is "decertification". I am hardly a guru on contract negotiation language so I will quote / link to a few guys who know what they are talking about.

From TSN's Bob McKenzie:

First, the NHLPA must petition for the mere opportunity to decertify. A petition signed by one-third of the NHLPA is required to launch the process. If that petition is successfully executed, decertification could go to a membership vote, with simple majority rules. So if 51 per cent of the NHLPA membership voted in favor of decertification, the NHLPA would technically no longer exist.

The NHL would no longer have a union to bargain with. Don Fehr, technically, would no longer represent the players.

Once a union or association is decertified, its legal counsel must seek a preliminary injunction in court that basically says this mass of individual players with contracts is ready, willing and able to fulfill those contracts and that any existing lockout is illegal. And if the court rules in favor of the players, they would be returning to a league with no legal CBA in place and the league would not necessarily have any anti-trust exemptions.

What's that mean in English? The lockout would be considered illegal. No draft, no salary cap, no real rules of any kind, in theory. Potentially, it's chaos. Often times, the mere threat of decertification and going down that uncertain road is what pushes together warring CBA factions.

But decertification can also be a murky world. Free agency, no cap, no draft, yes. Medical benefits and pensions? Well, anything that the CBA previously spelled out would, in effect, be gone.

So while I initially loved the idea of it because it could force a quicker CBA deal, it's far more complicated than that. Read more from McKenzie on that plus make-whole provision issues here.

Bill Daly mentioned today that if the PA voted for decertification, that the NHL season would probably be cancelled. The legal process of it would take a long time. He also said:

"I underestimated the magnitude of the gulf between us on a lot of issues."

No shit.

Steve Fehr told Sportsnet:

"We're available to meet anytime but don't have any new proposals for them. We moved a couple miles; they moved a couple inches."

No further meetings have been scheduled.

A few Washington Capitals and Montreal Canadiens players have been vocal lately and it's not necessarily a good thing. It all started with Roman Hamrlik, who told a Czech newspaper earlier this week:

"I am disgusted. We have to push Fehr to the wall to get the deal. Time is against us. We lost [one-quarter] of the season, it is $425 million. Who will give it back to us? Mr. Fehr?"

"There should be voting between players," Hamrlik told Daily Sport. "If half of the players say let's play, then they should sign a new CBA. If there is no season, he should leave and we will find someone new. Time is our enemy."

Canadiens' forward Erik Cole blasted back:

"If that's his opinion, then he should just stay over there (in the Czech Republic)."

"For him to come out and say this, it's the most selfish thing I've heard during the lockout. Without a doubt. It's just disappointing. You'd think the veteran guys are the guys who'd take more pride in what other veteran guys sacrificed in the last lockout, how we all benefited from that as a group. Some guys never played again."

"For me, I don't look at this lockout and see what I'm not earning as the entitlement to, 'Let's get a deal done and let's get playing.' I see it as an opportunity to repay an opportunity that was given to me," added Cole.

"That's what this is supposed to be about, that's what makes hockey players different. You sacrifice something for the people coming behind you. That's where the respect factor comes in. Whoever's kid is the best kid on your son's hockey team, you want that kid to have the same opportunity that you've had. That's what it's about."

Cough cough BULLSHIT, Cole! Don't be such a martyr. I'm not buying it.

Caps goalie Michal Neuvirth came to Hamrlik's defence. "I agree 100 percent with Hammer," he told the same Czech station. "This lockout is not about majority of players, I think. It is about several superstars with big contracts."


Today, Capitals' forward Troy Brouwer had some choice words for his teammates.

"Those are two guys that have never been on a conference call, never been to a meeting, never paid attention. People are going to have their own opinions but when you're fighting for something with 700 other guys, all you're doing is just making it harder to make a deal and making it harder to accomplish the things we're fighting for."

"For me, I think those guys selling us out, being selfish like that and making those comments..." "Me being on their team, how am I going to trust them as a teammate from now on? Because you know they're not going to support players in the big scheme of things when you go and you play on the team with them; it's going to be tough to want to back those guys from now on."

Good lord. Aren't you glad the Canucks aren't pulling this shit? This is why, as I said before, I like Gary Bettman's gag order from his side of the battle. The players come across as completely divided, and, well, they are divided.

How about some Canucks news?

Well there really isn't any.

>>Oh, and to steal a line from Tommy Larscheid, I just came back from the Canucks' locker room and Jason Garrison's groin never felt better. (The Province) Big whoop. Take him off the IR and stop paying him.

>>This one has me shaking my head: Canucks fans Meredith Stevenson and her husband cancel their lower-bowl season tickets, that they have held for 14 years. Meredith told the Sun:

"I felt like I’ve done all I can to make my point," she said. "As a consumer there’s nothing we can do other than not consume the product. So I just thought if that’s the only way, that’s what I’ll do. It’s going to be painful. What if the Canucks next year win the Stanley Cup and I am not going to have tickets. It’s going to be devastating for me, but it feels really good to do it. It feels good to have a voice and be able to say, you know what, I’m not going to consume it, I don’t agree with this any more."

Woa woa woa! If you are a Canuck fan thinking of doing the same thing..


Don't let your emotions dictate your decision. I can almost guarantee you that Meredith and her hubby are going to regret this decision for the rest of their lives. Once you give up Canucks season tickets you get in the back of a really long f***ing line. Ah hell, why should I warn people? If people want to get in a huff and throw that shit away it just benefits those who have been waiting in line for years to get their hands on season tickets. So go ahead! Piss away your season tickets!

>>I was going to do up a big post on the Canucks situation if the whole season gets cancelled but Jason Botchford beat me too it. That's what I get for slacking. The Canucks are facing a nightmare when the CBA eventually gets signed. As Botchford put it:

The Canucks have 13 players signed next season for $55 million. This, in a NHL landscape where the salary cap is about to be squeezed, and in a big way. How low the cap goes remains to be seen, probably not for another couple of weeks yet. But if you take the NHL owners’ latest proposal (and they’d love you to) it will be at about $59 million in Year 2 of a new CBA.
That would, theoretically, leave the Canucks just $4 million to sign 10 players. Oh, and one of those unsigned players just happens to be the 50-point man, Alex Edler, who is looking to become the Canucks’ highest-paid defenceman.

That is a really lousy reality. Moving Keith Ballard and Roberto Luongo becomes that much more important for starters. That puts more pressure on the team to ready Zack Kassian and Chris Tanev as well. Read Botchford's article here and start chewing on your nails and/or drinking.

Sometimes you just have to say (NSFW):

On a positive note

Killer Karaoke premieres tonight!

Oh Steve-O,you make me laugh when times are shitty.