There are a lot of reasons to hope that a new collective bargaining agreement can be put in place before its expiration on September 15. One of the best reasons is that there might actually be real hockey news for a change. Like training camps opening. Pre-season. Home openers. Actually NHL hockey being played.
With no new agreement in sight between the NHL and the NHLPA, the world is stooping to creative "journalism," and coming up with stories that really should not be stories.
As with the last lockout, Canada gets very creative about trying to get around basic rules. In 2004-2005, there was a group who challenged that the Stanley Cup, by original deed of Lord Stanley, was a challenge cup open to the best amateur hockey team in Canada. The group believed that the NHL had forfeited its right to award the Cup for the year because of the lockout. Interesting premise, and on February 7, 2006, a settlement was reached in which the trophy could be awarded to non-NHL teams should the league not operate for a season.
Given the excellent chances of another lockout, amateur teams better get ready to play this year!
Fast forward to this year and the province of Quebec has argued, along with the NHLPA, that a lockout would be illegal.
“The players on the Montreal Canadiens simply want the labour laws of Quebec upheld, so that we can continue to play hockey while we work towards reaching a fair contract with the NHL,” said Josh Gorges, Canadiens defenceman.
In Quebec, an employer is not allowed to lock out employees unless they belong to a union that has been certified by the Quebec Labour board. The NHLPA is not a certified union in Quebec. A hearing is scheduled for Friday, September 14, to discuss the matter.
In light of an impending lockout, the news that Lubomir Visnovsky lost his arbitration hearing to prevent his trade from Ducks to the New York Islanders seems pointless. If there is a lockout, Visnovsky won't be playing anywhere, except Europe.
Visnovsky was sent to the Islanders on Draft Day in June and he protested that the Ducks did not respect his no-trade clause. The arbitrators did not agree and refused to void the trade. Lubo is an Islander. Poor thing. Although considering the Ducks record last season, wearing an Anaheim uniform is not necessarily a walk in the park either.
At least the brief announcement about Visnovsky's hearing was hockey "news." Falling under the, what the heck were they thinking? category came the announcement that the Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL had offered a contract to Justin Bieber. Yes, that Justin Bieber.
The Condors, who were once a minor league affiliate of Anaheim, have officially lost their minds, in my humble opinion. Sure Bieber is Canadian and playing hockey is standard for most Canucks. But offering him a contract because he's worked out with the Toronto Maple Leafs in the off season once or twice? Seriously?
If your team is so bad that you consider the possibility of adding Justin Bieber to your line up as an improvement, you are in a sad state of affairs.
I don't want to see any more articles like this one, and with the dearth of real news to report, the depressing fact is that there will be more "stories" like this one.
PLEASE! NHL and NHLPA! STOP THIS NONSENSE and come to an agreement. If not I will be forced to do a compare and contrast of what NHL teams are offering their season ticket holders in terms of refunds and interest earned on money being held. No one wants to see that. They want to go to training camp next Friday.
In the words of Tim Gunn on Project Runway - "Make it work!"