Sports Roundup, Tavares, Blue Jays, Yankees Oh My

Damien checked in with a video today:

Howard Berger also checked in with a blog:

“It’s anyone’s guess as to how the dispute will be won, but I am most intrigued by Balsillie’s accusation in a separate lawsuit that the NHL is operating an “illegal cartel”. For many years, I have wondered about the unilateral territorial claim that is common in all professional leagues, but doesn’t appear to be constitutional. In a free-enterprise system, competing factions are encouraged to exist in proximity to one another; it’s the reason a Burger King restaurant can set up shop across the street from an existing McDonald’s franchise. Such an arrangement satisfies anti-trust regulations by discouraging monopolistic tendancies.”

Now you see, this is why guys like Howie shouldn’t try to analogize with the law. This analogy with two competing Burger joints is totally irrelevant. The better analogy would be with multiple McDonald’s franchises within one city. There would be no way to keep a burger king from opening up wherever the hell they want! It’s not possible. That has nothing to to with anti-trust. A law firm in the US has a good article that explains antitrust cases at length. Here is a good snippit of the famous Kodak case:

“At one point in history, Kodak has controlled as much as 96% of the film and camera market in the United States. Through the years, Kodak has seen and weathered several antitrust suits and claims brought by both private and federal parties. The two suits that would shape and reinforce antitrust law in the United States were brought on by the U.S. Government In 1921 and in 1954 and would result in two consent decrees. In accordance with the 1921 decree, Kodak agreed to not sell private-label film – it was disbarred from selling film under any other label but it’s own. In 1954, following the development of its’ Kodacolor film, Kodak’s became not only the only manufacturer and seller of Kodacolor, it was also the only company that knew how to process the film as well – and parlayed that into its’ business strategy. As part of the purchase cost of Kodacolor, Kodak included a fee that would allow the customer to send in the film for processing and delivery. Accused that the “tying” together of the film and the finished product constituted a violation of the Sherman Act, Kodak was forced to license the color finishing process to third parties. In 1994, citing changing international economic conditions, both consent decrees were terminated.”

The US has laws that prevent “monopolies” or unfair business practices with respect to competition. The Coyotes are arguing that the NHL’s rules with respect to moving franchises is anti-competitive; it isn’t allowing others to compete and therefore is preventing their owners to succeed.

“The reversal of such a long-term practice could affect the most routine elements of sport – those which are overlooked in legal circles for being internally policed. If you smacked another person on the street, or rammed that person into the side of a building, you’d quickly be charged with assault. But, hockey players can fight one another and rigorously hammer opponents into wooden boards that surround the playing surface. If you sprinted toward a stranger during a walk in the park and violently propelled that person to the ground, you’d quickly be in handcuffs. But, football players are encouraged to tackle opponents with all the brutality they can muster. In a friendly neighborhood baseball game, purposely winging the ball at an individual’s head might get you in loads of trouble if it connects, causing serious injury. In the major leagues, such action – though frowned upon – is considered legitimate strategy. The most profound anti-societal sport is boxing, but matches are sanctioned by commissions that are loosely affiliated with government.
It’s interesting to imagine what could transpire if someone challenged the minute legalities of sport.”

I have no clue the relevancy of this point by Berger. Whether or not a league is in violation of the antitrust laws has little to do with the fact that there are different standards in sports vs. society. I am not sure what he is trying to get at. I can’t imagine he is trying to suggest that there could be a slippery slope here; that is, that if the NHL is said to be in violation of the antitrust laws therefore it is possible that a hockey player who bodychecks another player could be charged with assault! In fariness to Howie, I heard other sports media members on the radio and television trying to wax poeticly about bankruptcy law, and it’s just nuts. A trustee in bankruptcy has nothing in common with a hockey game. To ask a hockey insider what he thinks is going to happen is totally irrelevant. One of the downsides of the economy is the jack of all trades media members…you do remember the last part of that saying right….

“Leaf fans are smitten by anything that resembles a top prospect, and most are unwilling to even consider the notion of trading the big defenseman. But, if Burke truly wants a legitimate shot at Tavares, he’ll have no choice but to dangle Schenn as bait. An argument can be made that Schenn is likely to evolve as a facsimile of veteran Adam Foote – a solid, reliable blue-liner that can diffuse opposition advances. Such players do not grow on trees, but neither has a club ever built a team around Adam Foote. A natural goal-scorer such as Tavares could provide the Leafs the caliber of building block they’ve lacked since drafting Darryl Sittler almost 40 years ago. That’s why I believe Burke is serious about pursuing Tavares. And, why he may have to consider all options at the draft table.”

If you have followed this blog, you know that I have said for some time that Luke Schenn isn’t Burke’s guy. Burke future isn’t attached to Luke. Does that mean he should be thrown overboard? Hell no. I think Burke would move Schenn in the absolute right package. I don’t know any leaf fan who has said “thou shall not trade Luke under any circumstances”. Clearly this is a market for everyone, and even the biggest Schenn lover (family excluded) would break at some offer. I think there is great banter out there as to what Garth Snow is thinking, same with Brian Burke. Does anyone believe that these guys are going to share anything of substance? Didn’t think so.

You all saw this hit right? Aaron Ward got clobbered. Walker, several minutes in penalties:

Damien through out his prediction on what would happen when the league met with Walker:

“Will the league do anything? Its sounds unlikely, although there will be a hearing on the matter today in New York. In fact – you’re gonna love this – the league will probably RESCIND part of the in-game punishment handed down to Walker for the instigator penalty he receivedSo it may not just be that Walker won’t be suspended. He may be partially vindicated, with some of the 17 penalty minutes he was given taken away. Basically, the thinking may be that it was up to Ward to defend himself, not up to Walker to restrain himself. Hard to believe, but that’s where this may be headed. Moreover, Ward and Helm both showed that the players on the team that is winning a lopsided game basically become pinatas for the sore losers on the other side. Solution? Well, if Brookbank had to serve his two-minute minor to start Game 6 in Anaheim tomorrow, do you think his own coach, Randy Carlyle, would allow him to get away with his cheap shot? Walker got his 17 minutes worth of penalties with only 2:47 left in the third period. What if he had to serve those penalties at the start of Game 6 in Raleigh tomorrow night? This we know. Suspensions don’t seem to slow these guys down.”

He was bang on. Collie Campbell punted. I have said this too often. Colin Campbell seems to follow the Canadian justice system when it comes to handing out punishment. There is no precedent, no track record, no rhyme, no reason.

Congrats to the Caps on an amazing game 6 win. Good luck back in DC. Can’t wait to watch the Jays vs the Yankees tomorrow night. I really home the barn is full. AJ vs. Doc. Does it get any better right now? What is the over under on how many pieces ask whether or not the Jays fans will boo or cheer AJ, and then how many will question or comment on the “correctness” of booing AJ? I am curious, have we seen the last of Mats Sundin? Can you believe, no really, can you believe that he could have taken the Canucks for $20 million?????? 🙂 Ask yourself this. You are an NHL GM, your phone rings on July 1, it’s Sundin’s agent, he wants to play for you- what do you offer?

Deepest sympathies to the Canucks faithful. I don’t care what anyone says, losing in the playoffs isn’t nearly as bad as not playing at all.

Talk tomorrow!


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