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Oceanside, CA • United States • 33 Years Old • Male
The ongoing issue pertaining to the Blackhawks and the delivery of RFA tenders has certainly piqued the interest of many, me included. However my interest doesn’t stem from my desire to necessarily add any of these RFA’s to my team; my interest is solely in the precedent that this decision will set. I can virtually assure you that this issue will rear its head again either in a situation similar to this or when the new CBA is negotiated.
In a nutshell, the Blackhawks claim they sent the tenders to the players in time, on June 29th. The NHLPA, in its grievance claim that the tenders were not sent in accordance with the guidelines in the CBA. Let’s take a look at some of the sources for the dispute.
Here’s an excerpt from a TSN.ca article on the subject dated July 3rd. “Chicago general manager Dale Tallon says the qualifying offers were mailed to the players in time, on June 29th, but says because of the July 1 holiday, some of the players didn't receive them in time.” The holiday that Tallon references is Canada Day, which is July 1st. OK, that seems pretty cut-and-dry.
This is an excerpt from Article 10, section 2 (B) (ii) regarding Group II RFA’s: “ In order to receive a Right of First Refusal or Draft Choice Compensation (at the Prior Club’s option) with respect to a Restricted Free Agent, the Prior Club of a Restricted Free Agent must tender to the Player, no later than 5:00 p.m. New York time on the later of June 25 or the first Monday after the Entry Draft of the final year of the Player’s SPC, a “Qualifying Offer”, which shall be an offer of an SPC, for one League Year, which is subject to salary arbitration if such Player is otherwise eligible for salary arbitration in accordance with Section 12.1, on at least the following terms and conditions:”. After the CBA provides a chart for the pay scale of RFA’s it goes on to say this: “ A Qualifying Offer shall not be open for acceptance prior to July 1. If a Qualifying Offer meeting the above requirements is timely made, the Prior Club shall have a Right of First refusal, exercisable in accordance with Section 10.4 below, or Draft Choice Compensation, exercisable in accordance with Section 10.4 below. A Qualifying Offer will be deemed to have met the above requirements if the Prior Club timely provides the Player a completed copy of the notice attached as Exhibit 19 hereto, in accordance with Exhibit 3 hereto .” The key to this excerpt is that the tender needs to be sent to the PLAYER. In this year’s case the later date was the Monday after the Entry draft which was June 29th. So the tender needed to be made to the player by 5:00 p.m., New York time on June 29th.
According to the TSN.ca excerpt above, Tallon said that the offers or tenders were mailed on the 29th. In that case, there is no possible way that the players could have received the tenders by the time that the CBA specifies. That is Tallon’s and the NHL’s first problem.
Now I search for Excerpt 3 and it describes the methods in which CBA Notices are required to be delivered to any party. Under “To a Player”, this is what Exhibit 3 states: “During the Playing Season, a Player shall receive notice(s) from his Club via hand delivery. From the day after the conclusion of the Player’s Playing Season until the commencement of the Player’s subsequent Playing Season, notice(s) shall be sent via overnight delivery to the Player’s off-season address which the Player provides to the Club, and if no such address is provided by the Player, the notice(s) shall be sent via overnight delivery to the Player’s last known address.”
So putting it all together, the Hawks should have sent the notices to their RFA’s via “overnight delivery” to arrive no later than 5:00 p.m., New York time on June 29. According to what TSN reported Dale Tallon said, the Hawks sent the notices on the 29th via general mail. If they had been sent overnight on the 29th, they would have been delivered on the 30th and Canada Day would have not delayed delivery. Obviously Mr. Tallon didn’t use overnight delivery.
It appears that Tallon and the Hawks are in quite the predicament. Obviously the NHLPA filed a grievance and will fight hard to potentially make the players affected UFA’s. Just as obviously, the NHL will fight to prevent that outcome. Chicago has already acted preemptively to avoid any problems by signing four of the five RFA’s affected to contracts, including D Cam Barker to a 3 year deal worth more than $3 million annually.
I have no idea how the arbiter will rule in this case but the NHLPA certainly has a viable case. It is at least conceivable that the arbiter could make all 5 players UFA’s; even overturning the SPC’s signed in the last couple of days as they were negotiated with the belief that the players were RFA’s whose rights were held by the Hawks. This could get ugly; the type of ugly thaqt could cost someone their job. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen and that this situation is resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. Thank god Scott Boras doesn’t represent hockey players.
Filed Under:   Versteeg   Barker   Tallon   Blackhawks  
July 7, 2009 12:14 AM ET | Delete
Like they have already done with Barker, they will just work out a deal with the other ones and sign them so it won't really matter. It'll probably just cost them slightly more.
July 7, 2009 12:14 AM ET | Delete
this is what happens why you let dudley does everything right leave and join Atlanta.
July 7, 2009 12:26 AM ET | Delete
Barker already cost them 3 x's more than his qualifier. As I said, the arbiter may reverse the contracts of Barker and the others if he is satisfied that the notices weren't sent as dictated by the CBA. I'll be curious to see what happens. Either way it is embarrasing for Tallon and the Hawks.
July 7, 2009 2:53 AM ET | Delete
Precedence for this was set in 2000 or 2001, when the Devils improperly qualified John Madden and Brian Rafalski. Both guys were declared UFAs and cost the Devils significantly more than their qualifying offers. The key is Chicago's cap room, they might not have enough to retain all of these guys.
July 7, 2009 3:22 AM ET | Delete
July 7, 2009 7:59 AM ET | Delete
You seem to care about this more than anyone... I think it's a classy move by Barker and the others who have already resigned. Pretty much stating that they don't care and want to stay with the team! The PA is a union, so of course they have to at least file a grievence. They support the players best interest, well if the player feels it's in his best interest to stay with the team, then that should do it.. If these players felt slighted in any way, shape or form.. I would think otherwise.
July 7, 2009 8:05 AM ET | Delete
July 7, 2009 10:36 AM ET | Delete
Forgive me for writing about something that I thought was interesting. The precedent involving the Devils is different from the perspective that this occurred under the new CBA with the salary cap and different free agency rules.
July 7, 2009 10:48 AM ET | Delete
And in that particular precedent both Madden and Rafalski were granted free agency which only strengthens the possibility it can happen here. I didn't say the players felt sleighted but if the were so honorable then why did Barker not sign for his qualifying price? Do you think that Chicago woud have signed him for that price regardless?
July 7, 2009 1:34 PM ET | Delete
Great blog! Personally, I do not think this story has gotten enough attention, and have been trying to find a source that provided the full details....something you have done. You raise a very valid point about the players being ruled UFA's, and the chances of the Blackhawks being able to resign all.
July 7, 2009 2:41 PM ET | Delete
Thanks bullethead; I appreciate the kind words. Now that Barker has signed knowing the potential for being ruled UFA, I'm not sure he'd go elsewhere anyway. But he sure used the possibility to get more $$ from the Hawks.
July 7, 2009 5:12 PM ET | Delete
July 7, 2009 5:50 PM ET | Delete
The difference with the Devils was that they never sent and paper work it was not filed. Where are this there was an attempt plus some of them did get it in a way. It is very good of these players to resign with the team as it helps eliminate a distraction for them. And questioning them being honorable because they did not sign the qualifier is kinda dumb IMO
July 7, 2009 5:51 PM ET | Delete
Barker is worth more than the 10% raise the hawks had to give him, so its not dishonorable to get a better contract.
July 7, 2009 6:59 PM ET | Delete
I was responding to someone else who basically said that none of the players were affected by the mistake. I was saying that I thought Barker took advantage from the perspective that he got more money than he would've if the threat of him becoming a RFA wasn't there.
July 7, 2009 7:01 PM ET | Delete
I didn't mean to neccesarily say he wasn't an honorable person; just that he benefitted from the Hawks mistake. The other guy had said that it was "classy" of him to sign anyway. Maybe but it wasn't exactly a selfless move. What do you think he would have gotten as a RFA w/o the gaffe by the Hawks?
July 7, 2009 7:02 PM ET | Delete
Obviously these players, especially Barker, wanted to remain Hawks and that is good. I didn't mean that I thought they would take the first offer to go somewhere else either. What I was trying to point out too is what a difference hockey players are from other sports.
July 7, 2009 10:13 PM ET | Delete
how does this pertain to the rangers put it where it belongs in the Chicago page
July 7, 2009 11:06 PM ET | Delete
Epim: I don't get to choose where the blog shows up. I apologize that I am interested in HOCKEY as a whole. Not everything I write is about the Rangers. If you don't like it go read another blog. Most of my stuff is about the Rangers but not all. Deal with it.
July 7, 2009 11:08 PM ET | Delete
Besides Epim, if Versteeg or Barker were ruled free agents then guess what? The Rangers could sign one or both. That involves the Rangers. I can't recall reading any of your comments on Rangers-related blogs before so.....why the criticism over a non-Rangers blog?
July 7, 2009 11:16 PM ET | Delete
i didnt know this because i am new to the site. im not critisizing i just didn't know that the article can appear anywhere. im sorry if their was a misunderstanding
July 7, 2009 11:31 PM ET | Delete
Epim: No worries; I apologize if it seemed I was snapping. I've been facing criticism over this particular article all day and I thought it was pretty good to begin with. Welcome to the sight and I look forward to seeing your responses to my future blogs.
July 7, 2009 11:32 PM ET | Delete
I am a Rangers fan (as registered) so all of my blogs now show up on the Rangers "tab".
July 8, 2009 9:37 AM ET | Delete
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