We’re less than two weeks away from the opening day of the 2012-13 NHL season, which can only mean one thing — the players are locked out. For the third time in 18 months (yes, we have a lockout hat trick), a major sport’s team owners have shut the door on their players in the hopes of scaling back player salaries. This is all depressingly familiar for NHL fans, who have now suffered through four lockouts and 1,698 missed games since 1992. By comparison, Major League Baseball has missed 938 games because of work stoppages since 1992; the NBA has missed 504; and the NFL has missed none, though their referees missed a doozy of a game last Monday night. It’s time to take a closer look at what the NHL lockout is all about and when we might see it come to an end. Here are some key questions and answers that will help guide you through Lockout: Part III.
On Friday, arbitrator Kenneth Dam ruled that Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak were entitled to Early Bird rights under the NBA collective bargaining agreement. The decision was a huge win for the Knicks. It allows them to use the Early Bird exception to re-sign Lin and Novak and still have use of their mid-level exception to sign other free agents. While New York fans drool over the possibilities this opens for the Knicks, here’s a quick Q&A to help you understand the ruling.
We’re in yet another NBA-less week of November, and the labor talks between the players and owners took an ugly turn last week when the NBPA dissolved its union and players filed antitrust suits. With a lawsuit already pending in New York between the owners and the players, we have now officially moved from the sometimes-contentious collective bargaining phase to always-contentious litigation period.
And, instead of battling over BRI and salary-cap exceptions, the players and owners, represented by some of the best litigators and antitrust lawyers in the country, will now battle over labor exemptions and antitrust violations. In other words, as some have put it, basketball fans are about to enter a “nuclear winter,” the “doomsday scenario,” and “a foul, hilarious, and surprisingly heartwarming holiday experience that utilizes its eye-popping technology to take gross-out humor to a new level.” (That last one may refer to A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas.)
I’m not here to talk about why things broke down. Instead, I want to talk about how we put them back together — how do we go from no union, no collective bargaining talks, and antitrust suits to an NBA season? It will be a bumpy road, and we might not get there in time to save the season, but here are some of the answers to the key questions that might arise over the next several weeks of this fight.