NHL CBA Negotiations: Could Canadian Labour Law be Our Savior?

We have a trade to announce. The NHL has traded rational thought and good faith to the Dark Lord, in exchange for a billion dollars in cash, new rules we will circumvent anyway, and a sixth round pick in 2014.

Yes, I spelled labor with a "u." I figured it only fitting, since it is Canadian law we are about to discuss. Besides, it is auwesome to throuw an extrua u in everuy nouw and agaiun.

According to Dave Stubs, the NHLPA is gearing up to take the CBA negotiations to court, citing Quebec labor law that unions must be registered with the Quebec Labor Board, of which the NHLPA is not. This means, per the PA, that the Canadiens would not be allowed to lockout the players when the NHL declares the lockout this Saturday.

The fall out from this could be major, it could be nothing, or it could fall somewhere in between. (How about that limb climbing, eh?) Is this the silver bullet for the PA? Will this prevent the lock out altogether? Is the letter U really so cool that Canadians need to use it in words where it does not belong?

Let's discuss.

The interesting twist to this, is that the PA tried to register during the 2004-05 lockout, which would have prevented the Habs from using replacement players had the lockout gone to a second year. The NHL, understandably, did not like that idea, and opposed the PA registering. The process was never completed, as the lockout was settled shortly after.

Now, however, the league is going against it's own argument (shocking they would do such a thing) in order to prevent the PA from preventing their lockout. It's all very convoluted and seems to be something that only lawyers would do. Good thing the NHL is paying their head lawyer $8 million a year to come up with this stuff.

If the PA can succeed in this challenge, and the challenge happening in Alberta that could prevent the Oilers and Flames from locking out their players as well, you have to wonder what the NHL would do in that instance. Play a season with those three teams? Have them practice 5 days a week, just in case?

Could you imagine the pain of having to watch the Oilers play the Flames 60 times? Dear lord.

If the Alberta challenge fails, the Quebec challenge is successful, and the Habs are the only team to technically field a team, do they win the Cup by default? The NHL does not actually own the Cup, so it doesn't have to be awarded, but would they?

If the PA is successful in both challenges, it deals a major blow to the NHL, as they have to find a way to justify locking out 27 teams while 3 teams are functioning as "normal." The NHL would, no doubt, cancel games, but what do they do with the players? They would get paid, and no games would be played to make up the cash outlay. The three teams involved are not going to like that, and would likely flip and push for a settlement so they could make money.

How all of this plays out is still up in the air, but TSN promises that "real" negotiations weren't to start until the 10thanyway. Which, of course, is today. Let's go to court!

Five days, folks.

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