NHL CBA Update: NHLPA Counter-Proposal Expected This Week

Willie Mitchell just had his day with the Cup. That's pretty significant, considering Willie Mitchell's propensity to be awesome.

Anyway, you want to see some CBA links, don't you? Well, in lieu of the typical weekly link round-up, we have a one-act play inspired by CBA articles from the Globe and Mail. Just for a change. So, please enjoy The Dissolution: A Hockey One-Act Play.

Act I, Scene I

Gary Bettman and Bill Daly enter a large stone room. Bettman sits in a substantial golden throne on one side of the room.

Bettman: I just don't know what to do, Sir Daly. Not only do the serfs not want to consent to our new provisions, but now the lords may begin in-fighting. Jealousy for those with greater properties is the name of the game among the less prosperous lords. How can those pauperized lords be so insolent towards their fellows?

Daly: It is a shame, certainly.

Bettman: 'Tis. But the lords will come around eventually. Even if we must share revenues... But why must the serfs be so difficult? I am running out of things to say to them.

Daly: It is their ultimate desire to retain nearly as much of the revenues as their lords receive for their labor. They wish to be seen as equals.

Bettman leaves his throne and marches around the large stone room, his oversized robes furling around him. He looks through a lancet, staring deep into the courtyard below.

Bettman: Curse the day the serfs formed that union! Damn the egalitarian nature of contemporary Western culture!

Daly: Now sir, remember the discussions on Friday? We are close on disciplinary measures and lengths of training sessions. It's not much, but it's a start.

Bettman: Yes, I suppose it's a start. But there is still much further to go. What of the economic issues? We aren't close. Their leader, that scoundrel Donald Fehr, just won't talk. Some say he is believed to be a deaf-mute.

Daly: Perhaps he will talk once returning from the Iberian Peninsula. The European serfs will hopefully give him more insight.

Bettman: Perhaps. Still, I do not know what much more I can say or do.

Daly: Well, sir, that is puzzling. You must remember, though, what ever you decide, the lords no longer wish to operate under the current arrangement.

Bettman: Yes, I understand this, and I also understand them to be correct. One should not be expected to work under an old agreement with another party. No, in fact, once a situation is too ill between two sides, that agreement must end, and the partnership come to a close.

Daly: It must?

Bettman: Yes! Don't you see, without common understanding, there is no hope for a peaceful working environment. There will be dissent! Controversy! Independent thought! No! No, we can no longer operate under the past provisions. Let the word go out throughout the land, once the time comes we will cease operations throughout my kingdom.

Daly: As you wish, sir.

Exit Daly

Bettman: (sighs) Why must this keep happening? Can the serfs not see we are doing what is best for them, as well as us?


Act I, Scene II

Donald Fehr walks onto the deck of a passenger ship on its way to North America from Europe. He leans on the ship's railing, gazing into the sky.

Fehr: Ah, look at all of those stars. It makes one wonder, what else is beyond our humble planet? So many things I do not know. When do astronomers know when new stars appear? When old ones disappear. Can stars just disappear, and never return?

A deckhand enters.

Deckhand: Señor, dinner will be served in thirty minutes.

Fehr: Thank you, sir. Let the captain know I will be in attendance.

Deckhand: Sí señor.

Exit deckhand.

Fehr: Though I really should get some reading done on that 76,000 page manuscript from Sir Bettman. (Aside) But I wonder, It just does not make sense why our two sides must sever ties without a new agreement. His lords chose our current proposition in the first place. It's befuddling, to be sure.

He loosens his silk tie, and walks across the deck, producing a cigarette and matchbook from his front coat pocket.

Fehr: Even the Europeans have expressed interest in staying closer to the places of their birth and finding jobs if they cannot return to North America. Doesn't Bettman want the best men working in his kingdom? How can he have that by locking them out?

He strikes a match against the wooden deck of the boat and lights his cigarette. He takes a drag and blows a silvery puff of smoke towards the night's full moon. The glowing cloud rises and disappears into the black sky.

Fehr: Alas, why should we lock out? We can work on a new deal while under the current accord. Why lose those men we rely on the most? It does not make sense to abandon the current state now, just because of this disagreement. Does he not know we want the best for him as well as ourselves?

Deckhand enters.

Deckhand: Pardon señor, the captain wishes all passengers to know we will arrive in Toronto by dawn.

Fehr: Thank you sir.

Deckhand exits.

Fehr: Well, I suppose I should convene the serfs anon, and we should propose a counter-offer this week.

He takes a drag from the cigarette, then flicks it into the sea. Another puff of smoke dissipates to reveal a devious smile on the face of the union representative.

Fehr: Wait...that's exactly what everyone will be expecting...