5 Ways NHL/NHLPA Negotiations Could be Solved


The dire state of our beloved sport is almost surreal. A year ago, only the worst pessimists might have predicted we would be in this predicament approaching Christmas – one without hockey. Not only is there no hockey, but a deal is nowhere in sight. It is a disgrace to everything that teams, players, and the NHL spend millions of dollars marketing their brands. The dedication to their beloved fans that we’ve heard so much about is more likened to a slap in the face followed by a few kicks to the groin.

So while most pundits and fans argue about who is right and who is wrong, I figured that we may need to laugh about this whole situation a bit, even if it becomes a sad laugh after a night of binge drinking. I decided to take a look at the most effective, be it a bit (okay, a lot) unrealistic, ways to settle this NHLPA vs NHL dispute.

5) A Game of Hockey:

Wait, what?

Hear me out! This is after all a game of hockey we are talking about here, right? So it just seems natural that we take both sides of the CBA debate and have them play.  The losers have to sign the winner’s latest proposal.  We could have the best of 7 series, sort of like the Canada/Russia Super Series. It will not only provide some additional revenue from ticket sales and TV broadcast, but it will also be extremely fun to watch some of the players provide those needed love taps to Garry Bettman as he skates across the middle looking down at the puck.  Can we bring Scott Stevens back for just one game?

So the teams would be picked by their leadership, but would require the negotiating committee to play as well. The NHLPA would need to dress the Fehr brothers and NHL will need to dress Gary and Bill or the deal would be null. Obviously the players would have an advantage as far as the talent goes and would decide who will represent them based on a vote. The team would rival any All-Star squad,  but could be fun to see who gets picked over who and even what players would even bother to show up.

The owners, since most of them don’t even know how and what hockey is it seems, would be allowed to buy players. They can pay as much as they want to whomever they want.   In theory they could actually hire the “disgruntled” NHLPA players without those players incurring a penalty from NHLPA – we have to be fair.  This could get interesting, but my guess is that NHLPA would have a big advantage here and I am okay with that. Seeing Gary on skates would make it worth every penny and probably extremely hilarious.

How I imagine things would go:


4) Intermission Half Ice Shot:

Here is an example of the activity:

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The obvious appeal here is how hard it is to tuck the puck from half the ice into a tiny hole like that (no mom jokes please). The stakes are usually very high and involve the winner taking home a car or even up to a million dollars. The difficulty comes from the tiny hole that the person has to slide the puck through (I said no mom jokes, dammit). Not only is this opening barely larger than the puck, but you have half a rink of ice that may have bumps and grooves that can cause the puck to jump or alter its direction.

What could be more exciting than seeing Fehr and Bettman standing in the middle of the ice, televised sort of like the draft, taking shot after shot. The winner gets to choose the two proposals on the table. The stakes couldn’t be higher and since both Fehr and Gary look like they are tip-top athletes, it shouldn’t take long to settle. In case it does take longer than 10 minutes, and it will many times that, there would be no breaks, no intermissions, and they would keep going until one wins or one quits (or one passes out). Not only would this make them “truly” work for a resolution without ending discussions after 10 minutes and taking two week hiatuses, but it would really sweat it out, until someone gets lucky and wins.

The downside to this is the possible boring aspect that may come with this (no one will be breaking television viewership records, but still more exciting than baseball), but I think that the hockey gods will guide the right puck and help us prevent a loss of a season. So for the greater good, you know?

3) Apple bobbing:

Apple bobbing, also known as bobbing for apples, is a game often played at Halloween. The game is played by filling a tub or a large basin with water and putting apples in the water. Because apples are less dense than water, they will float at the surface. Players (usually children, but sometimes drunken college students) then try to catch one with their teeth. Use of arms is not allowed, and often are tied behind the back to prevent cheating.

So we get Fehr and Gary (calling him Gary because Bettman reminds of Batman and he does not deserve it) together in the middle of Madison Square Garden. The Garden would be packed to the brim with cheering fans. Some players and owners would be standing around and we could even hear both the Canadian and USA national anthems. Gary and Donald say a few words about each other, how much they love the fans, and drop a few words about the proposals they both advocate for. Both would be dressed in sharp suits and since this would be televised, they are wearing make-up (Gary wears this even when not on camera).

After a few cheers and boos for both of them they proceed to do this:

The first one with a mouth full of apple is declared a winner and if we have a photo finish, we would send it to Toronto for the instant replay. The whole issue would be solved once again in under a few hours and with thousands of drunkish/happy fans to boot.

2) A Gentlemen’s Duel:

The fact is that there can only be one winner in these “negotiations”. I use quotation marks because from the outside they have seemed anything but negotiations, but more of demands by each side without any willingness to be reasonable, especially by the NHL side. Both sides did make some progress towards the delicious cream filled middle, oh I miss Twinkies already, but they also both seem to be stubborn enough to lose an entire season over pennies in the grand scheme of things.

Since both sides seem to be stuck, we must pick a winner and move on. No better way than to go back a few centuries to a simpler time, when a simple dispute resulted in one person being killed or severely injured (than killed by germs infection or by the local doctor).

A duel generally signifies an arranged engagement in combat between two individuals, with matched weapons in accordance with agreed-upon rules.

The rules would be simple: walk 10 paces while having their back turned to each other, turn around and shoot a revolver (not automatic), and first person to drop to their knee loses.  Of course watching episodes of the Deadliest Warrior would make it even more interesting.

How I imagine it would go:


The winner will simply choose what CBA to use and we will have saved a season of hockey in about 10 minutes.

1) Cage Match to the Death:

Now, I know that this would not be OK by any current legal or moral rights, but since we left the real world about 300 words into the article, let us assume this is a not so distant future where things are settled with cage matches to the death. Think outside of the box here.

I think Donald is a bit bigger of a guy and this would be to his advantage. He is also guided by some of the toughest athletes in the world and surely will give him some tips on how to throw a few punches. He would no doubt take Gary to the ground and use his bottom half, the millionaires belly (as I call it), to try and smother poor Gary to death.

Gary on the other hand has to be light on his feet. Unfortunately for Gary he wont be able to use his evil bully tactics in the rink as he will not have a few billionaires backing him up. They will be by his corner, but in the cage he is on his own. He will try to get into Fehr’s head with some nonsense about teams not making enough money and hope to confuse him by claiming record setting revenue with record setting attendance numbers across the board. The confusion attack will most likely not work and he will need to rely on his head in other creative ways.

They will be provided some hockey sticks and pucks to hopefully end this sooner than later, but my guess it will be way later as both seem to poses zero attributes we usually associate with manly men and hockey players.

How I imagine it will go down:


Let me know what you think is the best way to settle this dispute in the comments below – do keep them sort of PG-13, but entertaining!

Feel free to follow me on twitter @lastwordonNHL and be sure to join Ben Kerr and I on Wednesday Nights at 10:00pm when we host the hockey radio show, “Puckheads”, on the Last Word Radio Network.  You can listen in live or to our past podcasts by clicking here, or by searching for us on iTunes.


  1. How about an EA NHL tournament?

    With every goal the team that’s scored upon drinks a beer.

    Before you know it they are having the time of their life and the tension is released.

    I can only see good things come of this!