Living In A Gangsta's Paradise
The NHL is issuing ultimatums? What? When did the NHL head office move to Sicily?
Quote the TSN (re: conditions the NHLPA has to meet to get the contract registered):
"1. "That the cap hit on future multi-year contracts will not count any seasons that end with the player over 40 years of age. The cap hit would be calculated on the average of the salary up through age 40 only."
2. "That the cap hit on future contracts longer than five years will be calculated under a formula granting additional weight to the five years with the highest salary.""
Gee, that's a nice contract you got there, NJ. Would be a shame if something happened to it.
Those two clauses seem to be at odds with each other if you ask us, because after reading clause one, we would be very inclined to backload all contracts in such a way that the vast majority of the money is paid out after the player is 40, so as it won't count against the cap hit.
Clause two, obviously, negates that. What is it, the years of the contract pre 40 years of age, or the 5 highest salaried years? Because it seems to us that anybody with a brain that read clause one would put 99% of a given contracts value into the post 40 years so as to get rid of a cap hit completely.
Which, of course, Gary probably saw too, and hence, clause two. Ignore the fact that clause two completely negates clause one. It's the NHL.
Rule Of Law VS Rule Of Man
Dome Beers loves us some Austrian School, and this situation (Ilya, his contract, and Gary) have us thinking back to something we read from one of it's greats. F. A. Hayek's Road To Serfdom, if you haven't read it (really dude, you haven't read it?) is an attempt (and a damn fucking good one) by Hayek to show how socialism and the class system that must necessarily go with it leads to totalitarian regimes. It is very persuasive, and we encourage all of the Domebeer-aholics to give it a look. While giving it a look, we would encourage them to go to the chapter titled, strangely enough, 'Rule of Law VS Rule of Man'.
Now if you're into Voltaire (and we reference 'Candide' specifically) or have read enough Plato to know your an anti-platonist, you probably know where we are going with this.
People are people, period. Or to use a Protestant reference, the only saint who ever lived died on the cross. Nobody is so special that they are above this rule. There are no supermen (for the love of christ if you don't put that Nietzsche down your brain will rot), and nobody has a divine right to rule.
Why do we bring this up? Because these are the rules of life, as real as gravity. And like gravity, if you break them, there are consequences.
The fact that people are people leads us to consensus. You know how horrible you are, and because people are people, you know how horrible others are too. To check the excess that humans are wont to gravitate too, people gather, deliberate, and come to consensus about what the rules should be.
And once we know the rules, we know how to act, and can go about acting, that is, living.
This is the Rule of Law: people are people, equal. Because we are equal, we get together to come up with the rules (LAW). Once we know the rules, we can go about our lives because we know the rules, and we know they will not be changed on the whim of the dictator.
Rule of Law is what is so amazing about the American experiment in government (or was, Madison is probably spinning in his grave now). Rule of Law allows one to plan in the long term, confident and safe in the knowledge that the rules are the rules.
Rule of Man is the opposite of this. Plato, Nietzsche, and Hitler can be counted in its ranks of proponents. Divine Right of Kings is the spawn of this idea. Dictatorships are countries that are run by the Rule of Man.
Quite simply, Rule of Man is rule by dictatorial fiat. The rules, the laws, can change at anytime, without any notice. It makes it impossible to plan, and if you are in the business of making capital expenditures with timelines of decades and centuries, well, you are out of business. Rule of Man is why the Soviet Union was (is) so poor, why China still has a billion people living in poorest possible conditions imaginable, why North Korea is hell on earth.
Don't get it twisted: Countries can have law books, courts, a constitution, but still be a nation run by the Rule of Man. Dictators like window dressing too.
Which brings us to Gary Bettmans CBA, and the Ilya contract.
We are not quite sure if the hockey fan can grasp what Gary is trying to do here, with his posturing over the Ilya contract. He is trying to establish the NHL is Ruled By Man, not Ruled By Laws. Why he is doing this is beyond us, because we believe in the crazy notion that markets need rules, and these rules need to be stable.
If you read the CBA you will discover that Gary, and by Gary we mean the NHL owners, exercise incredible power based simply on the fact that the language in the CBA is not specific. It is vague language specifically so Gary and his army of lawyers can read into it whatever they want, whenever it suits their fancy.
For example, Gary isn't bluffing when he says he might cancel the pasta addicted goalies contract. He has that power because the CBA allows him to go back and look at any contract he wants, if it strikes him that the contract is not in keeping with the spirit of the CBA. In other words, the goal posts in the CBA are so huge that there might as well not be anything in the CBA as it pertains to contracts other than this: If Gary is cool with it, then it will be registered.
Any investors out there? Remember when the American government broke centuries worth of tradition in regards to contract law when it forced the bond holders of GM to take a back seat to the employees of GM (as bond holders are what is known as 'secure creditors' they should have received first dibs on any asset sales GM would have made had they had to go bankrupt. As it happened, the government, which is always first in line because they own tanks, forced the bond holders to give up their spot in line to the unions, which is pretty much gangsterism but we digress)? Remember what that did to the markets?
The markets tanked because uncertainty was brought into the environment. Rule of Law is about getting rid of uncertainty, Rule of Man thrives on it. Gary, by his whole 'we will let some contracts through but not others even though they are basically the same' act created a universe of uncertainty. And in time this act will come to do great harm to the NHL.
Ilya isn't going to be the last free agent. Next year there will be some, and the year after that, and the year after that. Some of those free agents will be stars who fill buildings and generate revenue. They are going to want their take. How do we even begin to negotiate the contract if we don't know what is and is not acceptable?
Not literally, but as most of the players in this league come from here, it's a good place to start. Listen, the NHL broke the NHLPA. We understand that. That's why the NHL was able to get away with creating the CBA to be as vague as it is in the first place. But make no mistake, if the NHL got its way, no player would be able to sign a contract over one year, let alone 17.
If the players want this to end, they have to stand up and fight. We blame the players for this current situation, the player union specifically. Of course Gary is trying to make the union yield again. You would too if you were employed by the owners to make the game as profitable for them as possible. It's his job to make the players and the player union his bitch, and he does it quite well.
The NHLPA seems to be getting a pass in all of this, and it shouldn't. The NHLPA is a house divided against itself, which means it cannot stand. It is a weak, corrupt organization. And as long as it remains that way, shit like this, shit like a CBA written in pencil, will continue.
Again, looking back to America...it's called checks and balances. In a perfect world, the Owners and the Players would be about equal in strength to one another. This would force the two sides to actually work with each other for the benefit of there respected camps, the good of the game, and the fans, in that order. Because the NHLPA is a gong show with shitty leadership unable or unwilling to discipline its members to fall into line and project a united front, we have the situation we have now.
From Russia With Love
Let's be honest here: the players are the game. Ilya holds a hammer because he can bolt to Russia. From the outset, the players union should have made it clear to Gary that if he did something they didn't like, they were prepared to sign off on, and in fact were going to encourage, Ilya to go to the KHL.
Why? Because it would have made the NHL a laughing stock in the sports world. ESPN would be talking about how the NHL is going extinct, and how they can't retain the best players in the league. Hockey would be on the front pages of sports sections again, only this time it would be for its (perceived) obituary.
The type of negative PR that would be generated against Gary and the NHL if Ilya was to bolt would have been crushing. Maybe not in Canada, were the media has a vested interest in seeing the game healthy, but in America, the sports market that matters, it would have been, and it would have been hard for the league to spin it positively. Because perception matters, it would have hurt the leagues credibility, which in turn hurts ticket sales, which in turn hurts the owners pocket book, which in turn leads to Gary losing his job.
We don't think Ilya's negotiating team was nearly as aggressive as it should have been when it comes to this.
Lessons For Obama
Obama likes to talk to tinpot dictators. When the President of America talks to Tin Pot Dictator of Poorcountrystan, the light of the presidency is then reflected onto the tinpot dictator, allowing the dictator to grow in stature and importance. It's like the Sun and the Moon.
Wyshynski offers us a teachable moment. Did you guys know Sid Crosby was a sex crazed maniac who has hired a bunch of hackers to go after you if you said something bad about him? Oh, yeah, he is a drunk too (hockey players liking alcohol? My word!).
Well, you may have heard about it because if you are at this site, odds are you really like hockey. Or, if you are like us, you had no idea. No idea, that is, until you saw the Puck Daddy himself talking about it.
Wyshynski tweeted: Wonder how SB Nation feels about its Pittsburgh blog printing paranoid ranting of anonymous woman claiming Sid Crosby is a drunk sex addict.
Uhh, ok there, Mr. Daddy. Thanks for making a non story a story by lending your 'gravitas' to it. Wonder how SB Nation feels about you giving their Pittsburgh blog more hits in a day then they get in a month.
If you thought the story was bunk, then don't talk about it, and it goes away. Talking about it shines light on it, which attracts others, who talk about it...
Domebeer-aholics, thinking about doing a contest or something. It's really out of selfishness: I (AZR) have one of those Costco hockey tables, and it was fun and it was great, but now I'd rather the room. Maybe.
Also, Dome Beers was contacted and is now in negotiations with CNSstores.com about a possible product giveaway they might do with us.
So we may have a contest or something in the (semi near) future. We suppose it probably better be hockey related, and it would be a good idea if that hockey related part involved the Flames.
Anyways, nothing concrete right now, but that's the new news you can use.
Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.