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Bettman hopes collective bargaining will be “painless and quiet and quick”

Jan 29, 2012, 12:13 AM EDT

Fehr-Bettman-Getty Getty Images

There was a bit of unease today when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said there’s no set date to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement.

With the current CBA set to expire on Sept. 15, several media outlets reacted with doom and gloom — that included Reuters, which ran with the “Labor war looms over All-Star weekend” headline.

Labor war? Hopefully not, Bettman said.

“My hope is that we can reason together and that collective bargaining will be painless and quiet and quick,” Bettman told reporters following Saturday’s board of governors meeting. “That would serve everyone’s best interest.”

The scent of labor strife has been in the air since the NHLPA rejected the NHL’s proposed realignment. Many saw it as the first shot fired by players’ association head Donald Fehr, the former Major League Baseball PA executive director known for his hard-nosed negotiation practices.

On Saturday, Fehr re-iterated much of what Bettman said — there’s no set date for the two sides to begin CBA talks.

“I don’t know yet, there will obviously be some preliminary discussions to set things up and talk about things,” Fehr said. “Obviously, my preference will be when we get to the real significant sessions to do it at a point in time, which is rather more likely to have players present easily than less.

“But we’ll know sometime in the next few weeks how that’s going to play out.”

Fehr also stated that people (read: media types) might be reading too much into the lack of a formal start date. He and the NHLPA want to obtain more financial information before getting down to brass tacks.

“There’s this view that somehow if you have this big meeting and everyone comes and takes pictures of a dozen or two dozen people sitting around a table like the auto workers used to do, that somehow magically that signifies the kickoff of something in a formal way and that the world is different as between before and after,” Fehr said.

“That’s largely untrue. … Don’t make more out of it than is there.”

  1. blomfeld - Jan 29, 2012 at 12:32 AM


    Interesting, as that’s also likely his “battle cry” when he enters the bedroom with one of his lovers from Stern Incorporated. Simply put, Gary Bettman is a mental case, as is Ovechkin and his “Florida-based” boyfriends, the Sisters and their “tire-pumping” goalie and Crosby with his menagerie of “purported” injuries. Comrade Fehr “will” make trouble this go round and no doubt Bettman will probably end up as collateral damage. No tears from me however, as this pig has been sullying the game for almost 20 years now …

  2. trbowman - Jan 29, 2012 at 1:32 AM

    Donald Fehr sucks.

  3. greatminnesotasportsmind - Jan 29, 2012 at 9:08 AM

    Can you imagine the backlash if they dare miss 1 games after still being the only sport to mIss an entire season because billionaires and millionaires couldn’t agree how to split mega millions?

  4. irishjackmp - Jan 29, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    After what happened with the NBA negotiations, if the players think they are going to keep 57% of revenues, they are delusional.

    The latest Forbes magazine NHL valuations show that over 1/3 of teams are losing money and many that are turning a profit are barely making one. Given that the league plays to something like 95% capacity and they get next to nothing in the way of $$ from national TV, there really have maxed out their revenue streams. I suspect the owners will dig in their heels the way the NBA owners did.

  5. imleftcoast - Jan 29, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    If it were going to be quick and painless, they’d be talking now. The NHLPA wasn’t even consulted on realignment. Why should they trust this snake oil saleman? He can’t even get the Coyotes situation resolved. I don’t know how Bettman keeps his job.

  6. firemarshal1 - Jan 29, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    To the NHLPA:

    Please understand, we the fans support your salaries. Don’t be disillusioned that a work stoppage would be welcomed by the fans. Actually, it would be taken as an insult. Be humble and understanding of our current financial situation. Don’t be greedy and lose site of the wonderful set up that you (NHL players) have now. Getting paid to play a sport that most of you would play for free if weren’t playing in the NHL. Don’t let your pride get the best of you. Pride can be destructive. Use common sense. Show your appreciation to the fans who support your salaries.

  7. tapefolie - Jan 29, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    It’s business who cares. That said, NHL/ NHPA YOU BETTER NOT MISS EVEN ONE GAME!!!!

  8. blomfeld - Jan 29, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    The “sports/industrial” complex has far too much power these days. In a sense, they along with the banking, media and pharmaceutical industries, constitute a modern-day Spanish Inquisition. The level of both “conscious and subliminal” brainwashing which these industries are subjecting the masses to today, is completely off the charts in terms of precedence and it’s very much consistent with what George Orwell predicted in his book 1984. I can see a time soon now, where national boundaries and sovereignty will give way completely to commercialism and fascist corporations … in fact, it may have even already happened ?

    ps: as far as sports go, the NHL is the “little” sister compared to the NFL, NCAA, MLB, NBA, Auto Racing, PGA, pro tennis, MMA … and they would be wise to not forget that fact during their upcoming negotiations … we here at PGT are hockey fans, but the truth of the matter is that the majority of people are “not” and they simply don’t care about hockey, period …

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