Thursday, July 19, 2012
Will the NHLPA consider the nuclear option and decertify?
I guess one bargaining chip that the NHLPA has is the threat of decertification. If they decertified as a union representing the players, then the CBA would obviously be null and void, and there would no longer be a salary cap, the Rangers and Leafs could buy all the players they want without restrictions. There would be two or three tiers in the league, with traditional powers (or rather, rich teams) at the top, a middling few who fight every year to get in the playoffs through ingenuity, and a lower tier of untouchables who would be punching bags for the rest of the league.
The league would be markedly changed, in that the players could sue in court to remove the universal draft and reserve clause, which are restraints of trade and monopolistic. Players could once they reach the age of 18 sign with the club they want for as long or short a period as they want, and at the conclusion of that contract be full free agents. They could demand crazy things like are offered in the KHL, cars, appartments, they could insist on No Movement Clauses. Faced with the possibility of signing a Taylor Hall with a NMC or losing him to another team that would acquiesce, a dozen teams would stampede to do so.
There would be no 'standard contract', players would bargain individually for guarantees and bonuses, options, and renegotiate or extend the contract when they wanted.
So in a way, the NHL has to be reasonable, they have to hold off the threat of the KHL on one hand, and prevent the courts from sticking their noses in the way they do business if the PA decertifies. We can hope that their ridiculous opening offer was just some sabre rattling.