No Circumvention, For You! (NJ,BOS,VAN,CHI Excepted)

So let me get this straight, if you’re Chicago, Boston, New Jersey, or Vancouver the NHL will look passed your circumvention, but, should anyone else try to cheat the system, well, the answer is no.

This is leadership?

This is what a league commissioner considers a fair, equal and competitive environment?

Look, if these extended deals are legal for one club, they have to be legal for all.  Anything but is simply unfair, no matter how you try to spin it as some sort of victory for the league.

All of this because the league lacks the leadership to act, until the situation becomes so dire, a reasonable resolution is no longer available.

Just imagine one of these teams winning the Cup, after defeating a team without the luxury of a cap circumventing deal on the roster.

This would be “fair”?

What an absolute joke.

The only way out of this quagmire is to have the new rules in place before the start of the 2010/11 season, have them applied to the “grandfathered” contracts, and to penalize CHI up to 5M of cap space for playing with an “illegal” contract in the 2009/10 season.

But, don’t hold your breath, that would take actual leadership.



8 Responses to “No Circumvention, For You! (NJ,BOS,VAN,CHI Excepted)”

  1. likes this.

  2. Canuck Abroad Says:

    This is one of the many problems of a unionized environment.

    Don’t get me wrong a union is great for the players but horrible for ownership and management.

    The problem is that during the lockout of 04-05 the league was trying to put a limit into place on how long contracts could be because they knew this would be a problem.

    The league registered these contracts, and instead of going through the hassle of possibly ruining last season, (Hossa’s whole season last year was during a current contract circumvention that could have led to all of the club’s games being forfeit, so how do the hawks win the cup if all their season’s games are forfeit?) and instead decide to gradnfather these contracts in, meanwhile any further contracts signed by any team must follow the new rules.

    Your response to this rule change is a little inaccurate, as the grandfathering of the contracts was in fact a bargaining tool for the leadership of this league to fight against a union who already caused a lockout in a prior season when unwilling to close this loophole in the first place.

    I think this is a great move by management and shows that Bettman knows what he is doing.

    The only thing I think Bettman is guilty of is not acting sooner. I mean essentially we are only talking about 5 contracts out of hundreds of players. That is a very low percentage that this situation applies to.

    All in all, I believe this is a good move and although I agree some teams “got away with murder”, this was the only option for the league to get what they want and try to avoid another lockout in 2012.

    • CA,
      You wrote “The only thing I think Bettman is guilty of is not acting sooner. ”
      Everything else you wrote was excuse making for the above failure.
      Now the league has teams playing with advantages other teams do not. That, fundamentally, is inexcusable.
      This new imbalance is not a reaction to a circumstance the NHLPA created, or even fostered, but rather a reaction to contracts management offered to players, and players accepted.
      As commissioner, it was Bettman’s job to up-hold the CBA. But, because he is not a commissioner, but a puppet of management, he was loathe (or able) to challenge an owner, until the situation become a circus act, and sufficient owners picked up the pitchforks and torches.
      These are the absolute facts of the situation.
      1. Management groups purposely circumvented the cap, a cap THEY insisted upon (Do players care about a teams cap? No, but teams do, hence the motive for circumvention)
      2. Bettman looked the other way, as he is not a true commissioner, but rather a puppet of the owners, who, with their circus act of group leadership, couldn’t get their collective acts together in time to stop the madness.
      3. When the circumvention became too much to ignore, Bettman was forced to act, when a majority of owners refused to accept the resultant salary escalation.
      4. Now the NHL is an un-even playing field, which the owners are willing to accept, in favour of the status quo, which, ironically, THEY created!
      Now you want to say the league had to wait until the NHLPA accepted illegal deals, before they could act?
      This is not a union issue, it is a bad management issue. It is a result of nobody looking out for the game, but rather owners attempting to look out for themselves, individually, while employing Bettman to look out for them all collectively.
      Is it the role of the NHLPA to control owner spending?
      Is it the role of individual owners to look out for their “competitors”?
      No to both.
      It’s up to the commissioner, a position which is supposed to be in place to look out for the game, to make sure NEITHER side is putting the integrity of the game at risk.
      A perfect example would be the “Avery” rule. Avery’s actions potentially favoured one owner, and one team of players, but, as should have been the case, Bettman (supposedly) stepped in and put a stop to it, for the betterment of the game.
      The rule was in pace to prevent this, but the ownership group (reasonably) lacks the ability to separate individual benefits from group benefits, but will not relinquish the authority to do this to a commissioner.
      The best way for the league to avoid a lock-out is to have a commissioner who doesn’t look away when a team, or player circumvents the CBA.
      Do not think for a moment the NHLPA is going to shrug this off come contract time. If anything this only worsened the relationship between the owners and the NHLPA, and deepened the players contempt for the position of commissioner.
      And yes, it may only be 5 contracts, but these are not 4th liners, these are star players making below market salary cap salaries.
      Disgusting and inexcuseable.

  3. I don’t think the decision showed much more than legal sense. They simply could not go back, no matter what the CBA rules say, and disapprove contracts that had been submitted so long ago, whether or not those contracts have started. The only contract the NHL had any leverage to disallow was the Kovalchuk contract, because they had not approved it or failed to disapprove it in a timely fashion.

    So really, the threat to retroactively reject the Savard, Luongo, Hossa, or Pronger (though that last has been conspicuously absent from the post-mortem discussions) contracts was an empty one. Such a move would have landed in court (with or without NHLPA support) and the NHL would have lost. Savard’s lawyer may have been jumping the gun to say so, but he was right when he claimed he could sue if his client’s contract was revoked.

    Imagine the ripple effect if the NHL had gone back and disallowed those other contracts? Not only would those teams possibly lose players, but they could claim that, by allowing them to THINK the deals were okay, the NHL interfered with other negotiations they would have entered into had they known the deal was not okay. Even teams that did not have such contracts could claim “hey, that would have put us in the running for that player too! We wanted [insert player name] here!” You can change the rules but you can’t apply the changed rules retroactively.

    Which makes me suspect that the NHL got away with something for nothing, I just can’t figure out what.

    I’m not sure about Canadian law but in the US the law isn’t about being fair or just, it’s just the law, and the law is really protective of the right to form a contract. Since US law is based on British law, and I think Canadian law is too, then probably we’re all in the same boat. Blame the Brits.

    • Canuck Abroad Says:

      The only reason Savard’s agent could have sued was due to the happenings after the contract was signed. Savard has suffered injuries and his value has decreased exponentially from when that contract was initially signed.

      And they could have gone back because the CBA allows it. The GMs and PA could have complained all they wanted but there is specific rules in the CBA that specifically says they can go back and de-register contracts and the actions that would follow suit. The PA and the league both agreed to this in 2005, so they are both stuck following those rules whether they like it or not.

      The NHL didn’t get away with nothing, what they did do was finally have leverage against the NHLPA to close this loophole that “allowed” cap circumvention and closed it. As I stated in my last comment the only thing the league was guilty of was not doing this earlier, and they had no leverage to do it.

      They obviously didn’t want to go back and have to recalculate the results from last season and have to do all the reprimands for circumvention and all the battles, but they could have, and that was their leverage.

    • PS,
      Pronger was out because his contract was not able to be walked away from in the later years, as it took effect AFTER age 35.
      The NHL didn’t get away with anything, in fact, they’re covered in their own filth, but trying to act like it’s a new chic cologne.
      The league cannot void these deals, but they can force them to fall into line with the “new” rule, and fine the Hawks, as allowed within the CBA.
      The fact they will not do this only goes to show the fundamental root of the problem remains…a terminal lack of leadership.

      • Canuck Abroad Says:

        Try reading the CBA sometime. I have. It is in the rules that they can de-register contracts. I agree they hesitate to do it because of the amount of work it would involve so the league compromised to get what they wanted.

        • Trust me, I’ve read the CBA, and no, they cannot unilaterally de-register contracts. In this instance the contracts in question were either not yet registered, or in a state of quasi registration, thus making them eligible for being nullified.
          However, rules within a CBA, or any contract, cannot breach civil, or criminal law, even should both parties agree to do so. As such, the power you refer to exists entirely in theory, but its execution would surely be tested by the courts, and likely found wanting.
          As such, this power was fictitious, and was as (more) likely to blow up in the NHL’s face, when struck down, as in the NHLPA’s face, if upheld.
          What really happened was that the NHL lost credibility, and, by registering these 5 contracts, created an un-even playing field.
          What did the NHLPA lose?
          Nothing, the contracts were accepted, and these new rules are so uncommon, as to be all but irrelevant after having lost at arbitration.
          This “change” was far more about defining the void created by the arb. ruling, than “fixing” the problem, as evidenced by the registering of the very deals that were considered circumvention.
          The facts speak for themselves.

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