All of the recent decertification talk was enough to rouse me from my blogging lethargy. Unfortunately for me, Tyler Dellow wrote everything I wanted to say on the subject. I agree with him on every single point:
1) So far at least, the decertification noise sounds less like an effort to blow up the Union and more like an attempt to improve their negotiating position.
2) If the season goes, I hope the players do blow it up. The fans will be better off.
3) I think the players will be better off without a CBA too, but decertification means chaos and uncertainty, while collapsing and signing Gary Bettman’s CBA means billions in the player’s pockets.
4) If the players do not fight now, they will face the same situation again and again. Even if the threat of decertification marginally improves the owner offer, a marginally improved offer still represents a big financial hit for the players.
This is the worst outcome, the outcome that the players simply had to avoid. People like me will be able to correctly say: “They should have taken Bettman’s final offer to save the season. They would be much better off today.”
The question still remains: What will the players do? What will Don Fehr do?
Donald Fehr took the job for a reason and I don’t think it was to meekly follow the NBAPA and NFLPA playbooks into the CBA Gary Bettman wants. Is he herding the players over the decertification cliff? What if Donald Fehr now believes that collective bargaining in sports is a process that has outlived it’s usefulness?
It would change sports entertainment in North America. That would be quite the legacy for Donald Fehr.
And for Gary Bettman.
Postscript: As usual this fan is torn. Do I want to see a deal that salvages some kind of a season even though that would mean the same administration doing the same things leading to the same outcomes? Or am I willing to see this season crash as the price to pay for a vastly different NHL next year?