No, no, no, there is no "now we pick an arbitrator"

[but see UPDATE at the end of the post, as the league apparently, um, didn't do what the CBA tells them to do. Hey, isn't that a circum -- never mind.]

In response to the (many) people saying, and now it's time to select an arbitrator and the league and the NHLPA have to agree and that could take months...


Because of two facts. One, the CBA requires that there already be an arbitrator. The arbitrator is on retainer or on hold or in the on-bat circle or whatever you call it, year-round. He's renewed every February 1. The league and the NHLPA can replace him, but the protocol is this:

48.5 (a) There shall be one System Arbitrator, appointed jointly by the parties, who shall serve for the duration of this Agreement; provided, however, that on February 1, 2007 and on each successive February 1, either party may discharge the System Arbitrator by serving written notice upon him and upon the other party by that date. The parties shall thereupon agree upon a successor System Arbitrator within the following sixty (60) days.Sixty days from 2/1 was this past 4/1 or 4/2, depending on where you start counting. Then this:

Should the parties fail timely to agree upon said successor, each shall immediately designate the Dean of either a school of law or business and said two Deans shall, within sixty (60) days, jointly appoint a successor who satisfies the requirements of subparagraph (b) below. (b) The System Arbitrator to be appointed hereunder shall be an attorney with significant experience with matters requiring financial sophistication and business/accounting expertise and as an arbitrator or judge or other decider of contested proceedings.

Which brings me to fact #2: If the league and NHLPA have not agreed by 4/1, they don't get to pick the arbitrator. They only get to pick responsible grown-ups who can do it for them without their meddling. So, note to everyone saying that somehow there is no arbitrator and the league and the NHLPA now have to/get to pick one: not only is there already supposed to be one in place, but if there isn't, it's not the league's or the NHLPA's decision anymore.

So, assuming that they dismissed last year's arbitrator (otherwise, why are we talking about this?) the league and the NHLPA were supposed to pick the two deans "immediately" at 4/1. What do you suppose the chances are they didn't do this? I'll leave that for discussion.

In any case, according to the CBA (quote above), the two deans appoint a new arbitrator within sixty days. Sixty days from 4/2 (I'll take the later date), is June 1.

Which is obviously why they laid the calendar out this way, so that there would be an arbitrator in the event that one was needed on 7/1.

So, really, is it possible the league and the NHLPA were scurrying around this weekend trying to pick deans who then would pick an arbitrator? Well, if they really were so lame as to blow off the 48.5 of the CBA, then, yes, that's what they would have to do.

Because, as I have been saying for about a week, there is no provision for picking an arbitrator now. Once the NHLPA gives notice of intent to dispute, they have 24 hours to notify the arbitrator (or else -- truly -- they have not "timely disputed" and the contract is automatically void -- wouldn't that be hilarious), and after that there shall (i.e. must) be a decision within 48 hours. Thursday, at the latest.


This is the quote from Daly:

Union counters NHL rejection of Ilya Kovalchuk deal - ESPN New York
"Although there is no defined timetable at this point," --

Except for 11.6(a)(i)(y): "if the NHLPA does timely dispute and refer to the Arbitrator such rejection in the manner set forth in Section 11.5(g) above, then such dispute over that rejection shall be both heard and decided by the Arbitrator within fortyeight (48) hours."

There is no, "unless we forgot to appoint an arbitrator several months ago."

-- "we intend to work with the Players' Association to ensure an expeditious resolution of this dispute," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement. "The league looks forward to the opportunity to establish its position before the arbitrator." Daly said that the league would have not further comment until the issue was resolved.

Although there is language in the CBA suggesting the grievance should be heard by an independent arbitrator within 48 hours of the grievance being filed,


that's unlikely to happen.


First, the union and the league will have to agree on an arbitrator that will hear the case and that may take several days.

Good work, fellas.