NHL Arbitration: Potential for Bruised Feelings Makes Actual Hearings Rare

July 21st, 2016 by Adrian Dater Leave a reply »

It's easy to say "It was just business, nothing personal" in pro sports. Players are conditioned to expect criticism, and owners are conditioned to expect paying as much as a player can get. Usually, the sides come away saying "no hard feelings."

The process of arbitration, though, makes it a bit more difficult for the usually hardened sides not to take things a little more personally. Imagine having done a good job at work in the past year, but going in to a meeting with management where their sole goal is to pay you less than you think you're worth, and list the reasons why to your face. All the while, trying to reconcile management's words that are essentially, "Hey, we still want you around moving forward though." 

This is why most scheduled hearings don't actually happen. Of the 25 players who filed for arbitration, nine have already reached prehearing contract settlements with their teams, according to General Fanager. As of Thursday, not a single case has actually "gone to trial."

Arbitration hearings were set to kick off Wednesday in Toronto, with Marcus Johansson up against the management of the Washington Ca ...

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