THE WAY IT IS

Lowetide
October 18 2012 08:18PM

When it comes to negotiation, there are several styles that can and will work. It all depends on what your side wants and the other side desires. Then, you have to use the things available to you--time, money, bullets, assclowns--to force the issue. At some point, the other side gives in, sells the plant or moves everything to China.  

One of the best negotiators I've ever met was my old boss. In the interests of anonymity, we'll call him OTTO. Otto felt that the only good negotiation was one that left both sides feeling a little uncomfortable with the final agreement. The more both sides stretch, the more likely the agreement was truly beneficial.

Most of us live in a world that doesn't allow these long transactions. The amount of lawyering involved in the NHL/PA negotiations could sustain third world countries for a century, but folks like you and me can't stay the course over a long period.

NEVER TAKE A KNIFE TO A GUNFIGHT! 

Last time the NHL and the NHLPA got together it cost the players one season without much in the win column. Now, the NHL succeeded by so much that everyone made money but that's different than winning a negotiation. I'm no expert in the field, but this--right where we are now in the process--is the point where I believe the 'PA lost it all last time.

The players side were convinced of one thing: the NHL didn't want to lose an entire season, they would not go that far. The owners called their bluff, and after that all that was left to do was buy presents and wait for Gary to cancel the season. I think Don Fehr has decided to turn the owners ploy from last time into the players ploy this time: the players as a group are acting like they're somewhat indifferent as to the outcome of the negotiation.

Fehr's offer today was described as 'disappointing' by Gary Bettman. Sure! They haven't learned the lesson of last time! From the Fehr pov, that's probably the best word of the day: disappointment.

WHAT COMES NEXT? 

The NHLPA gave in to a salary cap last time and this time the issue is the percentage to cap. If the NHLPA didn't say no last time and they don't say no this time--what then? At some point you have to show the courage of your convictions and the players appear to feel this is the time.

I can't say I blame them, but that doesn't really matter. The point is this: just like in childhood, when you are challenged by a bully, the choices are stand up for what you believe in or give in and lose a piece of yourself.

I believe that's what players are fighting for this time.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

At some point, you have to make a choice. Whether it is minimum wage for $6M a year, the choice is the same: get busy living, or get busy dying. NHL hockey players may not be happy, but they are free. Free from taking a smaller piece of the pie on someone's say-so, or because they've been bullied into it.

I don't believe I have the right to tell a man to accept a deal he feels is demeaning or unjust. And that's the way it is. Sometimes we as fans lose perspective on these things, and I believe this is a time to remind ourselves it is a game, these men have skill that earns them a fine living, and that allowing the process to play itself out is probably the best plan. 

I miss the NHL, and I very much miss the Oilers. This, I feel, is a bigger issue. And since it doesn't involve me--I can't pay to see a movie that hasn't been made, and I can't watch a league that can't gather its employees--then I choose to spend my money in other areas and wait for a day when this is settled.

I'm not angry at NHL players tonight. I would request that if they are serious they follow through. I'm not going to choose one side or another, but would like to express my respect for these men and how they play the game.

Godspeed, see you someday.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#51 book¡e
October 19 2012, 09:30PM
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Cody anderson wrote:

Unless the system is fixed I would not sign the agreement.

Forget what their chosen career is and what their income is.

If my employer came to me durind record profit years and renegotiated my commission rate so that I would make less and the company would make more for the same thing I have always done for them; it would be very hard to take.

Then 6 yrs later after posting record profits they come to me again telling me I am making too much and wanting to reduce my commision again. I don't care what the $ amount is I would be pissed and would let them know exactly what I thought of their idea. If they insisted I would be looking for work with another employer, preferably one that competes against my previous employer.

The only way I would sign is if the problems were fixed to the point that I was comfortable that I would not be asked to take another reduction when the next CBA expires.

Which 'other employer' would the players go to?

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#52 book¡e
October 19 2012, 09:38PM
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I don't care whet is 'fair'. Fair is some poor kid in Malawi getting the $10 he needs for school fees so he doesn't have to live in extreme poverty his whole life and can get a good job paying $75 a month.

What I care about is leverage in a business deal and the players have put themselves in a position where the owners have more leverage. Fighting for something you can't win because you don't hold the cards is dumb and a waste of my( hockey fans) time. If I felt the players had leverage here, I would be pissed off at the owners for not realizing it.

It's not about fair, it's about being stupid.

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#53 DonDon
October 19 2012, 09:55PM
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Ken wrote:

These players are already wealthy from the league and team owners.

They should thank the owners and sign the CBA.

If any group should be thanked for players excessive salaries and owners greed it is the poor suckers, the fans, who pay exorbinate prices for tickets, beer and NHL wearables.

As to Webber's contract, it was the Philadelphia Flyers organization that made an indecent offer to a RFA and along with other rich teams continues to screw up the salary system.

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#54 Pouzar99
October 20 2012, 12:51AM
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@Dave

This a false comparison, like comparing government financing to household financing. Workers, even very skilled workers, can almost always be replaced and so they have very limited leverage, although the latter obviously have more.

Truly elite talent is different. The NHL players are the 700 best players in the world and the gap between them and the next 700 best is massive. They are, in essence, irreplaceable, which gives them immense leverage that does not exist in Ma and Pa companies or huge ones either, so stop making that comparison as it tells us NOTHING about the NHL labour dispute.

Yes, you could probably replace the bottom fifth or even quarter without total disaster, but there are no other Crosbys or Ovechkins, or Toews, or Quicks, or Webers, or Charas or Sedins out there somewhere. Grinders yes, stars no, and that makes all the difference. Even the rubes in Phoenix could tell the difference.

Sorry David. You bust your ass and take home 100 K, which is good dough, although if you really work about 100 hours a week you REALLY, REALLY need to get a life. You know what Socrates said. The unexamined life is not worth living. Time foe a little self examination bro.

Sorry but the players have something almost all of us lack. An incredibly elite talent that people will big huge bucks to watch, because they have phenomenal and unique skill, courage and determination. Do you hate movie stars? All pro athletes? Rock stars? Bankster crooks? Lottery winners? People who inherit? Vulture capitalists? I detect a whiff of jealousy here mate. Maybe if your mum had put you in power skating....Nah.

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