The Fell Gard Codices

Nothing To Do With Anything

December 7th, 2012

This isn’t really to do with anything I typically intend to cover on this blog, but: with the negotiations for the new NHL collective bargaining agreement looking to have gone through one of their periodic collapses, it’s worth remembering one of the odd ironies involved in the whole thing. Which is that the owners who’re so intent on getting themselves a perfect profit-generating CBA also maintain employees part of whose job description is to break whatever CBA is produced. Specifically, the GMs, who will try to work around any CBA in order to give themselves and their teams a competitive advantage.

In 2005, the NHL believed it had won everything it wanted from the CBA, notably a hard salary cap. But as soon as the CBA was signed, the general managers around the league began trying to come up with clever ways around it, in order to get more and better and younger players on their teams. A number of their schemes worked. Some of those schemes, which the league wants to eliminate, are now heated points of contention. What I’m saying is this: even if they close those loopholes, the GMs will just get right to work finding new ones. Any given GM who finds a loophole will be almost duty-bound to exploit it — if he doesn’t, other teams will.

So while the owners are prepared to lock out one group of their employees in the name of generating profit for the whole league over the long term, they’re also paying a separate set of employees to break whatever deal they arrive at.

Talk about being the author of your own misfortunes.

Updated to add: And it turns out Eric Duhatshek made this point rather more eloquently in today’s Globe & Mail.

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