There is a base advantage to the system that the players have in their arsenal that no one ever seems to talk about. That advantage is collusion. The players are allowed to engage in collusion and the ownership is not. This is an important issue that no one cosiders in this CBA discussion. I hear a lot of people say that the owners and general managers must police themselves and must prevent themselves from spending too much on player salaries and set a reasonable market. Well the owners and general managers cannot do this because this is considered collusion and the NHLPA would scream this from the tallest of pulpits and take the NHL to court, suing them for millions if not billions of dollars. This is the primal fear of the league when it comes to contract negotiation. Any impropriaty could be construed as collusion and put the league into court. Now the players, their agents and the players association regularly participate in collusion to further their cause. They regularly discuss what a given player is making and how to leverage a given team into coughing up more money. If the ownership or the teams did this they would find themselves in court. This is a huge advantage that the PA and the players have on their side, one they exploit in every negotiation. They know this and they use it to their advantage. So when people ask why the owners want these control mechanisms (a cap and salary limits) in the CBA they should understand that it is to combat the players, the agents and the players association's efforts at collusion and setting a false marketplace. The only way to combat this collusion is to have these mechanisms in place so that the ownership has some justification for holding salaries in check and prevent the players from bringing up collusion and a potential lawsuit.