Friday, December 21, 2007

Montreal's Holiday Plans And The CBA

The Montreal Canadiens typically are scheduled to have a road trip over Christmas time. This is because Cirque du Soleil comes to town in Montreal and occupies the Bell Centre. This year is no different from normal as Montreal is on the road for six straight games from December 20th to December 31st. They played in Washington yesterday (winning 5-2). They play in Atlanta tomorrow, Dallas on Sunday, Tampa Bay on the 27th, Florida the 28th and they play the New York Rangers on December 31st. Since they play Sunday night they must travel back to Montreal on the day before Christmas and then fly out again on Boxing Day to be ready for their game in Tampa Bay.

Montreal management thought it would reduce travel and be a fun team-building activity to fly families and girlfriends from Montreal to Florida to have a Christmas vacation in Florida. Unfortunately, the NHL has nixed this idea. The CBA, with its salary cap, calls for all compensation to players to be spelled out in advance in their contracts. The idea being that if some teams chose to send their players on vacations while others do not, this might be a way for teams to subvert the salary cap to sign extra talent. The idea is a laughable one that a player would sign a multi-million dollar contract based on a vacation that might cost a couple thousand dollars. Thus, Montreal players will have to spend extra time travelling to have a short stay home at Christmas.

The NHL has already made exceptions to this rule allowing teams to bring along player's fathers and mothers on special road trips, but for some reason will not budge in this case. The CBA, in this case is forcing unnecessary travel on the Montreal Canadiens.

The general problem with the CBA is that it was written by lawyers to attempt to solve perceived problems by over-regulation without regard for real work situations. Could Montreal draw free agents because they might take a Christmas vacation as a team when the schedule makes it seem like a sensible option? Perhaps. Montreal could also lose potential free agents because the media presence in Montreal is larger than in most cities or because players would rather not be in a French speaking city. Definitely. The CBA regulates to the point of idiocy that which they can control, while not acknowledging that there are bigger issues that they cannot control.

At the very least, the CBA should be amended to allow Christmas (or All Star Break or any other logical time in the schedule) team vacations that reduce team travel during the season.

Here is the Globe and Mail article on the latest CBA stupidity.

1) We agree that on the surface it seems silly, but there would need to be spelled out limits to such activities. What may start out as a 2 day Florida vacation could escalate into a 2 week off season cruise, etc.
2) In an environemnt where there are limits to what a club can offer a player, a smart owner would simply use this loophole as one method to attract/entice players to go to is team, etc.
The point is that there are many other things that cannot be controlled that have a much bigger impact on potential signings.

Is Montreal considered a contender? Does the player have any friends already on the Habs? Does the player want to be in an environment where French is spoken?

Is this really significantly different from having road trips where fathers or mothers come along? That is already allowed by the NHL - even if it is not spelled out in the contracts whjen they are signed.
Father/son roadtrips are actually mentioned specifically in the CBA, as are a few things (labelled "Traditional Hockey Practices") that were done pre-CBA that they didn't want to ban.

If there's going to be a hard salary cap, clearly there has to be some specific limit ($$) on gifts etc., doesn't there? What would you suggest? If you leave it up to the better judgement of 30 GMs, there'll be abuse.
Personally, I dont suggest a hard limit on salaries. I don't see how the salary cap has done anything to help the game. This would be one small example of how it hurts the game.
The problem here is common sense has been replaced by legistated stupidity. If you regulate too much you have to keep regulating even further to keep from creating loopholes in the previous regulations.

To say the Montreal Canadiens should be able to spend a Christmas vacation in Florida when they play there on the 27th, shouldn't mean I have to find some legelese way to prevent another team from having an African safari after the season.

Too much legislation is the problem. This is a sympton
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?