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With lockout looming, Fehr lays out union’s position

Sep 13, 2012, 2:44 PM EDT

Fehr and players

“What would your reaction be in similar circumstances?”

That’s the question NHLPA boss Donald Fehr has for anyone who wonders why the players are refusing to accept what the owners are offering them.

Thursday in New York – with the likes of Sidney Crosby, Henrik Lundqvist and Zdeno Chara standing symbolically behind him – Fehr detailed the union’s argument:

—- The players made “enormous concessions” to end the 2004-05 lockout. Since then, league revenues have grown 50 percent to $3.3 billion. And now the owners want to “see what else they can get.”

—- If the owners are intent on cutting expenses, there needs to be “shared sacrifice.” In other words, it can’t just be player salaries. (When asked what other expenses could be cut – coaching salaries? travel? – Fehr wouldn’t provide specifics.)

—- The players are willing to accept a diminishing share of revenues, but they want their current compensation protected. Translation: no pay-cuts.

—- Not only have the owners demanded salary concessions, they also want the players to surrender certain contractual rights (e.g. arbitration). “Less money, fewer rights” is how Fehr put it. So what’s in it for players? he wonders.

—- The players want a deal that “stabilizes this industry” and “gets us out of the cycle” of labor disputes. For that, the union believes there needs to be more revenue sharing. Fehr pointed to Major League Baseball as an example of a league that implemented extensive revenue sharing and hasn’t had a work stoppage since the 1994-95 strike. As such, he was “a little bit surprised” and “significantly disappointed” that the NHL hasn’t shown a willingness to go down that route.

Fehr said there have been no further developments since yesterday and, until one side has something new to say, talks aren’t likely to be productive.

The current CBA expires Saturday at 11:59 p.m. ET, after which the owners have said they’ll lock out the players.

Here’s the full presser:


  1. bensawesomeness - Sep 13, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    The best part of this article is seeing Chara completely tower over all the other players in the picture.

    The rest of the article is just disappointing

    The phrase ‘ This sucks’ comes to mind

  2. chiadam - Sep 13, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    I think this lockout, like the NBA lockout, is not about players versus owners. It’s owners versus each other, which brings me back to the pinhead commissioner. And never mind the fact that he had a major hand in the last CBA. You know, the one the owners murdered an entire season for just so they can blow it all up seven years later. If Bettman had not comically overexpanded, would we be talking about losing another half a season of hockey? I doubt it. Until there are fewer teams, and less teams in inexplicable markets, this will happen every time the CBA expires.

  3. bcjim - Sep 13, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    Well, I hate to say it, but the players should make a deal and get back to work. They have no leverage and most of them have no education or other skills so….yeah. Play for $0.75 on the dollar and like it. Or go flip burgers.

    Hate to sound harsh, but that seems to be reality.

    I think the owners are being too pushy and they have created these problems themselves, but they make the rules…no leverage for the players.

    • gallyhatch - Sep 14, 2012 at 7:49 AM

      I can’t like this comment because I absolutely hate it.

      Unfortunately I also agree with it, I don’t think the players have any leverage & I don’t see this being resolved until they make huge concssions.

      It’s the little man I feel for, the people who work at the arenas, and the bar / restaraunt owners who will have a much harder time recovering from this than the players or owners. They are the ones who will suffer most from this lockout.

      • gallyhatch - Sep 14, 2012 at 7:50 AM


      • blomfeld - Sep 14, 2012 at 12:53 PM

        perhaps you really meant … “I don’t see this being resolved until they get huge concussions” ? … :)

  4. bcjim - Sep 13, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    The only hope for the players is to have the owners worry about the TV $$ and having nbc lean on them since it is alleged they will be paid something anyway. If true, NBC would presumably be trying to nudge the owners toward a deal.

  5. sharksfanatic - Sep 13, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    The players need to do the math. The owners hold the cards. In the current environment players need to understand they will have to take some sort of salary concession for the current year. I still believe this can get done, but it is not going to happen if the players continue to take a hard line stance. I believe owners will continue to move their offer up a little more, but not much. I think the owners may delay the lockout a few days if they think there is a possibility of a deal, but no more than when training camps start. Once a lockout occurs, odds are we will be in for a long one.

  6. cameltoews - Sep 13, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    The lockout didn’t really hit me until today. I carried false hopes of a deal up until this point. I can honestly say I feel upset and disappointed. Since the season ends I can’t wait until September rolls around to pick right back up where I left off. It just plan sucks for all of us.

    • jpelle82 - Sep 13, 2012 at 6:28 PM

      i truly look forward to eating dinner and watching a game when i get home during the week. i might have to plug in to my kids lives or spend more time volunteering at church if this lockout happens…heaven forbid 😉

  7. adlent - Sep 13, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    The owners astound me. If there legitimately are economic issues and they are losing massive amounts of money how can you demand the players reduce the salary PLUS all the other things like getting rid of arbitration, sole authority over the realignment, reduced contract length, 10 years until unrestricted free agency, etc.

    This isn’t a negotiation, this is extortion.

    • revansrevenant - Sep 13, 2012 at 4:46 PM

      I have been saying that for months now.

      • adlent - Sep 13, 2012 at 5:20 PM

        Seriously. I’m all for the owners getting some salary concessions if they are really losing money and it is the only recourse. Apparently, the players are okay with some concessions as far as how the pie is divided. The piece from the Boston Globe that broke down the economics was pretty solid. It showed how the players’ pie would shrink, but due to growth, they wouldn’t make less overall money and would see gains as the league grew. Yet, the owners also see consistent gains. Only makes sense.

        Now, if you are going to reduce player opportunity to make larger amounts of money, you can’t equally reduce their chances of multiple contracts over the course of their career to help make up for the “big” contract loss. You can’t make them get rid of arbitration (which doesn’t make sense if we’re just talking economics here.

        This needs to be a give and take. It only seems like a take.

    • tealwithit - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:53 AM

      I’m thinking it’s just a negotiation tactic… You start out by asking for your ideal scenario (plus a little more), and then later relent on some of the less important issues so it looks like you’re giving something up.
      Although I, for one, am completely in support of limited contract lengths. It would make for a much more exciting free agency period, plus it helps keep players motivated and provides more incentive for teams to keep their players happy (provided they want a chance at resigning them). Having the NHL’s star players locked up in decade-long contracts is kind of a bummer.

  8. dan46778 - Sep 13, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    I know sports is a big business… But with out the fans who they would be out of business n in the end the owners n the players r hurting fans

  9. mountainmantride - Sep 13, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    I’ve been a hockey fanatic for 30+ years. But now I’m done with this BS. Strike again? Really? NHL fourth line players making $3 mil with multi-year contracts is just plain stupid. Best thing fans can do is move on. NHL is a joke.

    • hockeyflow33 - Sep 13, 2012 at 6:04 PM

      Maybe that applies to a handful of players but that is not the norm.

      • mountainmantride - Sep 13, 2012 at 6:36 PM

        NHL owners’ combined profit in their proposed new CBA deal will be close to $635million, or about $21million per team per year.

        That means owners would rather pad their own pocket books to the tune of $20M/year instead of a mere $10M/yr.

        Average player salary is $2.135 million.

        That means 15 guys on the team (out of 30 total roster spots) make MORE than $2.135 million. Out of those 15 guys who make more than average there are 6 top six forwards (first two lines) and 4 top four D for a total of 10 players. That means there are five MORE players making more than the average. Therefore, most, if not all, of the third line players are making closer to $3 million than not.

        Additionally, the average player has 16.6 minutes of Time On ice (TOI). Which computes to an average of $1,265 per shift.

        So, let me get this straight. The NHL is going to go on strike AGAIN.

        Owners are trying to make an extra $10 million per year in profit.
        Players make on average $2.135 million per year.

        The FANS, either buying tickets or watching TV ads during games, buying TV packages and merchandise PAY FOR ALL OF THIS. ALL OF IT.

        Hence, the fans need to move on. And the NHL is a joke.

      • tealwithit - Sep 14, 2012 at 3:00 AM

        mountainmantride – There are teams currently losing more than $20 million a year – which means those owners are paying that out of pocket. So they’re not so much trying to increase profit as reduce debt.
        Everything else I agree with.

  10. blomfeld - Sep 13, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    *** WARNING ! … these remarks are not intended for Canadian readers ***

    “Fehr pointed to Major League Baseball as an example” …

    You’re a goof Fehr and you’re fooling absolutely no one ! In the US, the NHL at best is a regional “tier 2” sport which barely cracks the top 50 in terms of fan interest and viewership. One of the most startling statistics of all that I recall from last year involved my very own beloved LA Kings, where it was reported that a regular season King’s TV telecast draws an average of less than 40,000 viewers from the entire state of California ! Truly unbelievable, especially when you consider the fact that with a population of 40 million plus, the Kings are therefore drawing only 0.01% of statewide viewership ! … not to mention the fact that they’re the reigning Stanley Cup champions to boot. Now I’m not a TV exec, but I suspect that those kinds of numbers are perhaps what one might expect for a late night re-run of Bonanza or Gomer Pyle … not some professional sport which purports itself to be “all that” the way Fehr is talking.

    At any rate, I agree completely with Bcjim’s remarks above, where he says that these players are very fortunate to be where they are in life … “either play for $0.75 on the dollar and like it, or go flip burgers”. The bottom line is that despite the owner’s greed, in the end they’re still the owners. Without them, most of these players would be struggling just to make ends meet in life, the way most everyone else has to do these days. If the NHL was a real “tier 1” sport like the NFL, NBA or MLB, then I could see the argument from the player’s point of view. But that simply isn’t the case and these fools would be well served to remember that fact.

    • hockeyflow33 - Sep 13, 2012 at 6:09 PM

      Then don’t watch and leave the game. We’re sick of your stupid elvis posts.

      • blomfeld - Sep 13, 2012 at 8:18 PM

        enjoy friend … :)

      • therealjr - Sep 14, 2012 at 1:43 PM

        Better question: why in the hell are users allowed to embed video in their comment posts? Get up to speed, PHT.

  11. ducksk - Sep 13, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    It’s going no where fast. Big ego’s and big $ on both sides. He who has the gold rules. If the owners don’t want to pay the demands of a union, they have every right. Bust this union crap, start over. Bring in scrubs to play….I’ll watch. I’ll miss Sid and the rest, until they walk over the line when they run out of $. Or let them go have fun in ruskie and Europe. There is a lot of 18 & 19 year olds that will play for less and give us good hockey. This is outrageous by the union demanding more of the take. If they were owners I wonder what their position would be? What does super Mario think? All are idiots for risking fan base, but he who has the gold rules.

  12. mpg44 - Sep 13, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    A message to the NHL and NHLPA …. Go F@$K yourselves!! This message brought to you by the fans who don’t care about your crap anymore!!

  13. capsrockva - Sep 13, 2012 at 8:45 PM

    you aren’t a hockey fan get the F off this page

    • blomfeld - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:13 AM

      “zip it” corn twister … why don’t you do us all a favor by vacating the planet yourself, asshole !

  14. topnotch60 - Sep 14, 2012 at 1:28 AM

    What runs steady through my mind, we are talking about youngster making millions. Hello, this is a problem. You put tons of cash in a childs hands and look what you get. Marenovich(sp) a drug addict and hes not the only one. Not saying this is where our sport is going, my point is “be happy, be grateful for what you have, your main concern is to provide (and well i might add) for your family and if 5 mil isnt enough , your a moron”. 5 mil even in todays market can be managed properly and will take care of you, your family etc in a big way. It pisses me off that these athletes make these rediculous contracts and are crying about it. If we were talking about a $50,000 a yr job i would agree. Leave the salaries alone and figure a diff way to get it right. I cant farthom making $2500 a shift. JOKE. I dont think the owners should rape the NHLPA, but why shouldnt us fans see a break too. Ticket prices suck, concession prices suck. Every citizen out rhere should be able to witness a game if they want. Right now they cant, they cant afford to bring the kids to a game and but popcorn and pop. Figure out whos really getting. F@@ked here its not the owners or the players

    • hockeydon10 - Sep 14, 2012 at 9:14 AM

      “if 5 mill isn’t enough , your a moron”

      So, you’re saying this to the owners that refuse to entertain revenue sharing that would help out teams that are struggling financially also, right?

      Us fans aren’t going to see a break because the owners didn’t get to be billionaires (or near billionaires) by giving anyone a break. Not the fans, not the players, not the employees, not anyone.

  15. greatminnesotasportsmind - Sep 14, 2012 at 1:38 AM

    Here the deal: the players need to realize where their sport ranks compared to the NFL, NBA, and MLB. It’s last. The NFL and NBA both had short lockouts and the players went from roughy 57% of revenue to around 52%.

    The NHL should be no different. If anything less, like it or not, hockey is a nitch sport. Mainly northeast and upper Midwest (and Canada). The other sports are more national. Sorry hockey fans (me included) but its the down right truth.

    Here’s the other thing, all 3 sports also negotiated long term CBA deals. When we lost a year of the NHL, it should have been at least 10-15 years. That’s embarrassing right now. MLB has never had a work stoppage since their last strike. The NFL has a 10 year deal. The NHL seriously goofed this up too.

    Oh and a way to cut back expenses; go back to the realignment. Minnesota and Dallas won’t have to always travel to the Pacific ocean to play a divisional game that starts at 9:30 for half the year.

    • hockeydon10 - Sep 14, 2012 at 9:20 AM

      The NHLPA offer would end with them getting around 52.7% by the end of the contract if the rate of revenue growth matches what it did since the lockout. If it’s less than 7.1% growth, the PA gets even less than 52.7%, if it’s more than 7.1% growth they get more. In fact, for 2012-13, the PA offer has them starting at 54.3% and then going to between 52% and 53% for the rest of the contract.

      And remember that this is their current proposal. They’re willing to negotiate more, as is the case for all of these negotiations, meaning there is room for the NHL to get more while the players still get the things they want, such as no immediate salary reduction.

  16. icrew29 - Sep 14, 2012 at 9:04 AM

    Let’s do away with the union and let all agents represent the players as independent consultants. Each player will have their own contract as they do now and no one will have to deal with Bettman. You want Bettman to go away, this will send him packing and the players can start the union back up after Bettman is gone.

    • hockeydon10 - Sep 14, 2012 at 9:25 AM

      Never happen. Without the PA, there is no collective bargaining (of course), meaning there is no salary cap. We’re back to something similar to pre-lockout where three teams (Detroit, New Jersey and Colorado) dominate championships — 8 of the 10 years prior to the lost season — with other teams thrown in once in awhile.

  17. onbucky96 - Sep 14, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    Donald Fehr, Glorius Supreme Leader of professional sports work stoppages. Players, this ass-clown shut down baseball in 1994, and you hired him? Enjoy your time off.

    • hockeydon10 - Sep 14, 2012 at 10:42 AM

      And after that, baseball has had how many work stoppages in 18 years?

      If his method results in zero work stoppages in 18 years, while Bettman’s gets us three stoppages in 18 years, which would you rather have?

  18. joewilliesshnoz - Sep 14, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    Sid looks pretty buff, too bad we won’t be able to see the greatest hockey player in the world anytime soon !

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