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article imageOp-Ed: NHL/NHLPA court CBA dance may end hopes of 2012-13 NHL season

By Marcus Hondro     Dec 23, 2012 in Sports
The most recent news is that the NHL and the NHLPA are once again back to not talking. This is disappointing, especially at such a crucial time in the ongoing fiasco that is their current attempts at a new CBA. Not even talking? So what's up with that?
What is up with that is the two sides have put the ball, or naturally the puck, in the court of the courts. The NHL launched a pre-emptive strike and filed a class-action complaint in New York earlier this month, believing that the court will rule the lockout valid and any NHLPA motion of disclaimer to disband merely a ruse to exact more favorable terms. Meanwhile the NHLPA has voted in favor of giving leave to their executive board to file the disclaimer.
All of this is a chess match but regardless of whoever wins their victory will be hollow, as least as far as the 2012-13 season is concerned. For even should the loser prove willing to settle up quickly after the courts have had their say, with all the action still to take place their will be no time left for the 48-game schedule Gary Bettman has said would be the minimum.
The NHLPA is under the impression that giving their executive leave to disband the PA and have all players in effect declared free agents will be a pressure point on the league. That it will not only get them back to the bargaining table but force them to drop some of their demands. After all, as NHL players themselves have noted, it appeared to have been the tipping point for labor disputes in both the NBA and NFL. Their impression, however, is very much mistaken.
NHL: leaving CBA negotiations to courts
Bettman and the owners are more than willing to wait this out and they believe the court will rule in their favor, and it's hard to argue they're wrong. After all many players have alluded to their disclaimer as a tactic, not a real indicator they want to throw Donald Fehr and their association to the dogs. To have success before the courts members must genuinely feel they no longer want their association to exist; that's not the case here and if you and I and every knucklehead with a NHL team's logo on their cap can see through it then surely the courts will be able to.
To make the prospects of a season even more of a longshot, the NHLPA does not even have to respond to the NHL complaint until Jan. 7 and it is likely to take the court a long while to rule. It could take long past any drop-dead date, presumably mid-January, and there's no reason the NHL would lower demands before the ruling to save a season. Why would they capitulate when they feel they will win and when a win would end the NHLPA attempts to disband, leave them in disarray and motivate them to sign a new CBA under the terms the league wants?
If it meant a victory but no season the smart money says Bettman and the owners will take a win, will sacrifice a 48-game season now for 10 years of favorable labor peace beginning in October of 2013. That's the road logic suggests but the good news is that there is only about three weeks left until we find out which direction this will all take.
But get ready to continue doing what you've been doing with your time in place of watching NHL hockey.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
More about NHL, NHLPA, cba negotiations, donald fehr, Gary bettman
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