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Donald Fehr on CBA talks: “There’s plenty of time to negotiate”

Jun 25, 2012, 9:26 PM EDT

Donald Fehr Getty Images

The biggest revelation from NHLPA head Donald Fehr’s comments was already covered: it’s possible that next season could start even if a new CBA isn’t in place. Still, Fehr shared some other observations with Brian Hedger that leaned heavily toward the optimistic.

“I’m not going to pre-judge it, but there’s plenty of time to negotiate an agreement between now and Sept. 15,” Fehr said. “They’re going to start very quickly after the end of our meeting on Wednesday.”

Fehr laid out the biggest factors that he expects to emphasize during the negotiations, whenever they may begin.

“From our standpoint, the starting point is that the players made tremendous concessions all the way around (last time). The second item that comes to mind is that the game generates a lot more revenue than it did before,” Fehr said. “You put those two things together, it ought to point you in a direction where this negotiation should go.”

Those are reasonable points, yet the owners are likely to ask for the same thing as the players: a bigger piece of the pie.

The NHL doesn’t have the same system-altering debates such as the institution of a salary cap coming up, but money can still be a huge sticking point. While league-wide revenues are up, there are plenty of smaller budget teams who will want changes (most obviously in the form of a relaxed salary cap floor).

Many hope that Fehr’s comments about Sept. 15 not being a “magic date” ring true and the two sides start hammering things out soon. That expiration date is dangerously close to early October, putting training camp and perhaps regular season games in serious peril.

The players seem serious about being more involved this time around, which is probably mostly a good thing. Still, most fans and observers just want everyone involved to get something done – and as soon as possible.

  1. rgledz - Jun 25, 2012 at 9:33 PM

    Sure Donald……plenty of time. The one thing this guy loves is the spotlight. He’ll delay the start of the season without a doubt. He’s all about the strike and hearing himself talk. The season will not start on time.

  2. buffalomafia - Jun 25, 2012 at 10:12 PM

    What about the Coyotes moving?

    What about realignment?

  3. atwatercrushesokoye - Jun 25, 2012 at 10:40 PM

    Well if you look at it on it’s face Donald Fehr is right, however what he fails to acknowledge is that although revenues are up around half of the teams are losing money.

    You have the top half of the teams creating a huge amount of revenue and “growing the game” unfortunately in the grand scheme of things this moves the financial numbers to where the bottom half can’t really keep their heads above water.

    IMO the NHL either needs to contract 4-6 teams to create a league of stronger teams in markets which are passionate about the game and who are in better financial positions OR they need to do a better job of revenue sharing.

  4. jfinn5 - Jun 26, 2012 at 2:40 AM

    Fehr made the MLB Players Association the best union in America. The players need this guy to fight Bettman and his wealthy friends.

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