Monday, July 24, 2006


Arbitration Update

First off, I'm told by a reliable source that the NHLPA is taking a hands-off approach to individual arbitration hearings, and it is the Agent's job to make the player's case. This is the right thing for them to do given the conflict of interest they have, but it nevertheless must be an uncomfortable (and tacit, one presumes) admission that they really can't take a keen interest in the compensation of their individual members.

Second, in that previous post on Arbitration, I was working under the assumption that it is now Final Offer Arbitration, where the Club and the Player both submit a proposed salary, and the Arbitrator is bound to select one number or the other (Tyler says the same thing here). However, upon closer reading of the CBA (Article 12) and the various news stories on the action so far, I'm no longer sure that that's the case. There's no language to that effect (that I can find) in the CBA, and the stories on (for example) Briere and York aren't specific on whether those players Won or Lost, nor on the salaries requested by either party.

Anyway, I still have some confusion on that issue; apologies if I added to yours. (And if you know of a link where this is explained in black & white, please drop it in the comments).

And lastly, NHL watchers are having a laff (and rightly so) that it was Mike Milbury standing up for the Isles at Mike York's arbitration hearing. Larry Brooks was one of them, but something else in his piece struck me as even more ridiculous:
It's true, Milbury remained mute throughout the session at which hired-gun attorney Larry Bertuzzi argued for management that York should take a $1.05M pay cut from the $2.05M he earned last season while finishing fourth on the team in scoring (13-39-52, minus-9), but still, where was anyone from the crack Board of Directors and what does this say about the fired GM's ongoing influence with the owner and what does this tell us about the owner's judgment?

Emphasis mine: the Islanders' submitted a proposed salary for Mike York of $1M? What? Huh? This can't be true, can it?

If I was inclined to defend Charles Wang re: the events of last week, I would have roughly said that there are no Definites in pro sports; just because no one has successfully run a team like that before doesn't mean that it's impossible and/or doomed to failure (i.e. New always looks Stupid); and that Garth Snow may end up being better than a whole lot of NHL GMs, in spite of his lack of experience. But a submission of $1M for Mike York's salary at arbitration is hard evidence of pure incompetence. They might as well not have shown up, for all the credibility they must have had in front of the Arbitrator.


I'm wondering the same thing about whether it's final offer arbitration Matt. I thought I'd read that in the news and I was looking for the language last night. Nothing I can see that suggests it is, either in the CBA or letter agreements.

The reported offers from teams are also very, very low, which would seem to indicate it's not a one-or-the-other type of deal.

I went through it as well, and I couldn't find any mention of the method of arbitration for this year. The only year where the rules are laid out is for 2005-2006 (Exhibit 16, 12 g (i)). Those arbitrations were not either/or, but anywhere within the range of the two offers.

Tyler, you did read it in the news. Probably The Hockey News, in fact. Larry Brooks again, though, so your mileage may vary. His reputation is what it is, but if he's right on the Isles lowball offer for York, final offer arbitration might explain the award. York may or not be worth $2.85 million, but an arbitrator confronted with a $1 million-ish offer from the Isles might have found it an easy choice to make, as James alludes to. We might get an idea when Gomez' case is announced. If he really asked for $7 million, and Lou offered, say, $4.5 million or more, the Devils might get a "win", for all the good it would do them.

Wow. When does Wang change their name to the New York Barges? They stink and they're adrift at sea.

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