NHL Lockout: Is it time for an arbitrator?

October 16, 2012, by

Time for an arbitrator folks. Get this done please.

Are you sick of the lockout yet? I know I am. Maybe that’s why it’s time these sides realize they won’t agree on anything. Maybe it’s time for them to get an arbitrator and just settle on a deal.

For those unfamiliar with CBA¬†arbitration, it’s very similar to player arbitration. When two sides are far off on a deal, they jointly hire a neutral third-party to analyze both proposals, hear the arguments from both sides, and come to a conclusion in the middle that the sides will need to accept. However, much like player arbitration, both sides can walk away from the arbitrator’s decision, like they did in 2004.

So why do the sides need an arbitrator at this point?

The first point is the most obvious one: These sides are far apart, not on numbers, but philosophies. The players are willing to keep their salaries static, which when paired with climbing revenues, means their share decreases. The players also want to see a better revenue sharing system. The owners want another rollback. Different philosophies mean no deal and very little progress.

The second point is that this lockout isn’t about overhauling the game, like the 2004-2005 lockout was. This lockout is about money, and only money. It’s the greed of both sides that is preventing a deal. It is also the stubbornness of both sides that is preventing a deal. It all points to the differing philosophies.

The final point is another obvious one, but one that may be getting overlooked when it comes to making a deal. The players don’t trust the owners, and the owners think the players are weak. There is a lack of respect from both sides, and that will continue to play a role in the progress –or lack thereof– of these negotiations. It’s pretty simple really: both sides need each other, and neither side realizes this.

An arbitrator is a neutral party that would essentially eliminate the personal feelings from the equation (point #3), and would likely combine both philosophies into a deal that would be palatable for both sides (points #1 and #2). This path was attempted last year, and as mentioned above, both sides walked away. This year is different. It’s only about money. Considering the bad PR from both sides at this point, it’s hard to say that a side will walk away from what will be a reasonable outcome.

It’s been a month. Just bite the bullet and get something done.

Categories : Business of Hockey


  1. Mikeyyy says:

    Nice post.

    The only thing I contend against is that the players don’t need NHL hocky they really want it.

    With options of some players to the A and overseas. They can still make money.

    The owners are in the pickle. They still owe money regardless of if hockey season goes or not.

    The real question is who can stay locked out the longest? The players or the owners?

    And at what point do the owners break rank?

    Right now they are putting on a nice front, but there have to be some dissenters. A la Nyr, Montreal, Detroit, Boston.

    Those teams are established an make money every year. So where is the push coming from for these deals?

    Bettman. What does his contract look like? How does he make his 8 million per? Is he doing this for the game? Or for him?

    I seriously think that he needs to bow out and Shanny will be as to bring this all to closure.

    • Dave says:

      @Mikeyyy, Boston is not a dissenter. Jeremy Jacobs is one of the leading drivers of this lockout.

      The dissenters are likely 4-6 Canadian teams, NY, LA, Chicago, Pittsburgh.

  2. Justin says:

    I think it really only makes sense if they submit to binding arbitration. Giving two parties this stubborn the option to just ignore an objective third party’s analysis of the situation will just create more friction with the fan base and possible drag this thing out longer if one side is in complete disagreement with the ruling. This way, they are stuck with it.

    Especially since, as you mentioned, it’s only money at stake, the ruling wouldn’t change the fundamental landscape of the game itself, simply assign revenue where needed.

  3. Walt says:

    Would you trust the owners, guys like Snider, Jacobs, real up right people?

    They wanted this system in place, and they won the right to implement it. The NHL made hugh amounts on money, and now they are crying that they are paying too much to the players. No one put a gun to the heads of the owners to offer contracts like $117 million to Weber, $98 million to Suter and Parisi, etc. The players lost the last time, and this system was forced on them, this time around they are united, and stay firm on these issues.

    Again, the question is “Would you trust these scum bags”, I say no way, Jose!

  4. rob sahm says:

    they need to live in the real world i asked my company for Dollar raise and they said it wasnt in the fiscal budget this year. 2 days later they promted a person to AVP and his salary is like 100.000 per year. trust me those greedy sons of bitches can both share the wealth they wont starve unlike the average joe working class