Monday, November 26, 2012

NHLPA "Forces" Mediation

1) In a surprising turn of events today the NHL/NHLPA on going discussions took an unexpected twist when federal mediation was agreed to by both sides. Now, for the record it should be explained that there's big difference between "mediator" and "arbitrator".What could be most beneficial, here is it will now be clear who is/isn't negotiating. Now before we get all giddy that this will be a positive development we at Fauxrumors have been told NOT to expect any Earth shattering changes to the dynamics of the impasse. For despite the fact that the FMCS states that its percentage of mediated cases settled is 85-87%  the truth of the matter is that fed mediation has poor record in pro sports labor disputes. Most importantly, it's non-binding!  Either side can simply walk away from the mediators recommendations.  We would have been much more positive if both sides had agreed to  "Binding Arbitration". Then we could say a light at the end of the tunnel is here and not an on coming train!

2)  Best case scenario is the mediation gives both sides a reality check. However, like before, the willingness to compromise has to come from both sides and mediation won't change the "differing world views" both sides have. We're realists here at Fauxrumors so we don't hold that view. Since the mediation isn’t binding and, by bringing a new person into the discussion, it will likely complicate not improve the situation.  We fore see a 'he said, she said' situation developing where each side tries to persuade the mediator of the value of their position thus causing a hardening of feelings and worsening of the overall situation. meanwhile the clock continues to tick away and we lose valuable time.

3) So why did the NHL, who only recently seemed resistant to the idea of bringing in a 3rd party into the mix agree to this?  Its simple, said a well placed source, "De-certification scares the Be-Jesus out of the league".  Although they kept up a facade that they would prevail in court to fight the NHLPA to decertify and challenge the legality of the lockout, internally they knew it wasn't going to be easy. For unlike the NFL and NBA the NHL has to trod through not only the NLRB in the US, but also the more stringent labour laws in Canada.  However all that said, do not expect a significant or any for that matter change in the NHL position. If anything it will tend to harden as we go forward.  Many are coming on board with our position that it will take an owner to come out publicly and buck the system before anything meaningful will change.  We're also told to ignore the Hamrlik statement. Our sources tell us that his position to 'take what deal we can' is a VERY small minority opinion within the NHLPA. probably less than 5% of the players, mostly older Euros. So unlike 2004 when a sizeable faction was already developing, the players remain united behind Fehr.  Hopefully the mediation will do better here than in the Hostess mess.
 And the count down clock continues to click down to another lost season. Thanks Mr. Bettman!

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