Monday, September 20, 2010

Does Pre-Season Hockey Meet the NHL's Equalization Obligation?

Reminder to program the DVR/proof there is something holier than myself running the show that is life: The NHL Network will begin broadcasting the pre-season tomorrow night with a game between New Jersey and the Flyers and the fun continues with a total of 35 games leading up to NHL face-off on October 7 in Toronto.

Who makes this stuff up?: Article 10, Free Agency. 10.1 Unrestricted Free Agents. And I'm only reprinting the part that applies to current League Years. 10.1: (a) Group 3 Players and Free Agents. (i) For (D) the 2008-09, 2009 - 10, 2010-11 League Years, any player who either has seven (7) Accrued Seasons or is 27 years of age or older as of June 30 of the end of the 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10 League Year, shall, if his most recent SPC has expired, with such expiry occurring either as of June 20 of the applicable League Year or June 30 of any prior League Year, become an Unrestricted Free Agent.

Ok, now this I get. And it wins the prize for most words with "tion" at the end of them in one rule: Such Player shall be completely free to negotiate and sign an SPC with any Club, and any Club shall be completely free to negotiate and sign an SPC with such Player, without penalty or restriction, or being subject to any Right of First Refusal, Draft Choice Compensation or any other compensation or equalization obligation of any kind.

Morals of the story:

The game: Could this thing be any more complicated? Clearly, it was written by some bored NHL front office lawyer type who really wanted to be a painter, but decided instead in his regret and jealousy of others who took the road less traveled to take it out on the GMs and owners and dealmakers. I think the bottom line here is something I thought I'd never admit: now I see why players are cutting those ridiculous 15-year deals with some outrageous salaries. And the teams are letting them. It's easier and saves millions in billable hours to some lawyer compared to dealing until the midnight hour in the back room of a Marriott over free agents, unrestricted free agents, Group 3 players, Group 5 players and what not.

Life: The CBA is a metaphor for life. It makes everything way more complicated than it needs to be. My mother believes that in the workplace and life, people make things complicated to make themselves feel important. If I can get ten people to work for me instead of the two I really need, then I will look like I'm the boss of things and I'm getting things done. And, if it takes twice as long and involves a small handbook with rules, even better. It's sad when you think that if people felt important without all that, they would keep it simple and they would get more done and therefore look even better and more important.

If I recall correctly when the Penguins were barreling towards their 2009 Stanley Cup, they used "gotta keep it simple" and "play our game" more than a few times in interviews. And hey, guess what? It worked. We don't need CBAs and message points and a 10-year game plan for life or careers. The latter never works out anyway. What we need is self-worth, work ethic and honesty. And the only handbook should be one that relegates any individual who does not possess these things to a rehab center where they will learn that doubling the workloads of subordinates at work just because you can, always being on your Blackberry except when you're sleeping and plastic surgery will not make you more beautiful and more important than other people. And punishment rendered will fit the crime. For example: for being surgically attached to you mobile device, you will be stripped of the Crackberry and placed into a room with other people who are all on their phone, texting, etc. while you have to sit there and know you are the only person who doesn't have one. And by the time you get yours back, your so-called friends have moved on to someone else they just met on Facebook.

Next up: Onward with Article 10, Free Agency.

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