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Fehr sounds off on NHL for canceling games

Oct 4, 2012, 3:26 PM EDT

Donald Fehr, Ron Hainsey AP

While NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly feels “extremely disappointed” over the league canceling the first two weeks of the schedule, NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr had tougher talk.

In a statement released by the players’ association, Fehr rips the league for locking the players out and for punishing the fans by canceling games.

“The decision to cancel the first two weeks of the NHL season is the unilateral choice of the NHL owners. If the owners truly cared about the game and the fans, they would lift the lockout and allow the season to begin on time while negotiations continue. A lockout should be the last resort in bargaining, not the strategy of first resort.  For nearly 20 years, the owners have elected to lock-out the players in an effort to secure massive concessions.  Nevertheless, the players remain committed to playing hockey while the parties work to reach a deal that is fair for both sides. We hope we will soon have a willing negotiating partner.”

The two sides met last weekend to discuss everything except the important financial issues and don’t have another meeting scheduled anytime soon.

Fehr and the players continue to fight the bold fight to win public support, but if the schedule gets wiped out by a work stoppage, that battle is over with and the fans will demand results.

  1. jimw81 - Oct 4, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    “Nevertheless, the players remain committed to playing hockey while the parties work to reach a deal that is fair for both sides. We hope we will soon have a willing negotiating partner.”

    Couldn’t say it any better…….

    • stakex - Oct 4, 2012 at 3:42 PM

      Thats just PR bs. No sports league is going to play without a CBA in place… it just doesn’t happen. Fehr is being dishonest when he acts like thats even a possibility.

      As for his “willing negotiating partner” comment… I do believe itsFehr taking the “my way or the highway” approach. The league has made offers that the players won’t counter. How is that negotiating?

      This is simple politics to influence the idiots out there. You attack the other guy for the same thing that is your own weakness. Well played Mr. Fehr… well played.

      • phillyphanatic76 - Oct 4, 2012 at 8:47 PM

        Fehr never suggested playing without a CBA in place, they would play under the extended terms of the current CBA which was implemented by the league and the owners. Of course both sides are engaged in a PR battle but he’s right that the lockout should be the last resort. You can’t seriously say that the union is taking a “my way or the highway” approach when the offers presented by the league have been so laughable that no union would agree to them. And because the union is not giving in, Bettman then decided that locking out the league would put the most pressure on the players to accept another lopsided deal. In ’04-05 Bettman was parading around the projected success that the league would have under the new CBA after he just forced the players to take a 24% paycut, implement a hard salary cap, and miss an entire years salary. Now suddenly that win for the owners was actually a loss and the players deserve another paycut? Yes players are overpaid but if Bettman was serious about solving the teams financial problems he would discuss revenue sharing as well. Or a soft cap where teams that go over would pay a fee to the low revenue franchises. The answer isn’t for the players to just give in again, it’s a negotiation. The players should agree to a lower percentage of HRR (which they have) and there should be some form of revenue sharing. Bottom line though, I just want hockey.

      • jtrain1966 - Oct 5, 2012 at 2:53 PM

        phillyphanatic76, you think the Players got the shaft in the last negotiations ? I’ve got oceanfront property in Arizona I would like to sell you ! There’s a reason for Fehr, & the Players wanting to play under the old CBA while negotiating a new one . It’s because they gave the owners the hard cap that they wanted in exchange for more of the OVERALL REVENUE, NOT HRR ! Wonder why Fehr, & the Players are complaining about finding out how the League is going to define HRR this time around ! THINK ABOUT IT !

      • phillyphanatic76 - Oct 5, 2012 at 3:13 PM

        Jtrain1966, ask any hockey expert who “won” during the last lockout and no one will tell you the players union. If you look at what I said, the players will have to accept a smaller piece of the pie. Because the current percentage isn’t necessarily fair. But if the current CBA is such a detriment to league then why did half the teams throw as many contracts on the books as they could right until the 11:59 deadline? The owners are crying poor then handing out 13 year 100 million dollar deals. Doesnt that send a little bit of a mixed message? Or did they hand out the huge deals under the assumption that those high salaries would be cut by the next cba? If so that’s a pretty backhanded business move. Of course the players want to hold onto a system where they make a bigger percentage than the owners. But is it really fair for the owners to get everything they wanted in the last lockout and now in this one they’re out to conquer the players consolation prize? I’m telling you some type of revenue sharing is the answer, instead of taking back every single concession the league made in the last deal. Ed Snider, the owner of my Flyers, could save half the league and not even make a dent in his massive fortune. Do these billionaires really need an extra couple million in their bank accounts at the cost of making us miss an entire season of the best hockey on earth. Just my opinion.

    • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:34 AM

      Fehr’s message is garbage! He has NO interest in the welfare of the game! This isn’t a case of inhuman work conditions or an honest days wage. The owner’s create the jobs PERIOD. Without the current players the on ice product may stink but the jobs are still there.

      People need to let go of this whiney “ooohhhh the rich owners are just bullies”………..The players get paid MORE THAN 98% OF THE POPULATION FOR WORKING OUT AND PLAYING GAMES FOR A LIVING!

      People don’t complain like this for the person who cleaning up your parents crap at the old folks home or the EMT working on the victim of random shooting.

      I don’t feel bad for the player whose salary could potentially go from 450,000 to 375,000. They were part of the group that elected to max out the salary cap each year, and there was no push back from the players against the cap circumventing deals that were proposed. It always takes two and these players are as much to blame as every owner that is abusing free agency and spending what they can’t afford.

      Even without work stoppages baseball is a joke! The majority of the same teams still outspend everyone and make the playoffs every year. Their revenue sharing did squat to alter the parity and popularity of the game. THE ONLY THING THAT MADE BASEBALL RELEVANT AGAIN WERE RUNS. AND THE MAJORITY OF IT IS STILL STEROID BASED. NOT BECAUSE DONALD FEHR PUT REVENUE SHARING AND LABOR PEACE IN PLACE!

      Fehr is a piece of garbage union blowhard!

      • hockeyflow33 - Oct 5, 2012 at 2:03 AM

        No one pays to watch people do those things.

        Type in more caps, everyone loves it.

      • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:22 AM

        Watching a person do his job does not justify infated wages. I’m perfectly aware of market value but too many people side with the player’s because of the need to create a bad guy to have an opinion about something. It’s all too easy to make the owners the bad guys.

        The players are as wrong as the owners. To lump everything on the owners is to assume to players ARE like cattle or at the very least a mindless mob.

        -The players agreed to sign cap circumventing deals knowing it went against the very purpose of the salary cap and league parity. If all the responsibility falls on the owners, then it paints a picture of the player basically acting like a sheep…being herded into the conference room, directed to sign the contract, and mindlessly agreeing.

        -The players agreed each year to max out the salary cap. And this was after being advised each year by the commissioner that doing so would cause monetary issues for the smaller market teams which weren’t growing as fast as the league itself. So, once again the mindless mob inflated the cap by their own votes.

        The players are adults not children. A guy like Craig Adams gradated from Harvard. Yet they act as if “the big bad owners are just trying to squeeze us little guys and deerrrrr we are just toooo innocent and stupid to do anything about it”…….That mantality is an insult to what human beings are capable of! And Fehr is perpetuating it!

        So, once again, Fehr’s message is garbage! He has NO interest in the welfare of the game! He is a piece of garbage union blowhard!

        And I WILL CONTINUE TO TALK IN CAPS KNOWING THAT IF IT WAKES ONE PERSON UP OUT THIS MINDLESS HYPNOSIS THAT MUCH OF THE MEDIA AND NHLPA WOULD LIKE TO PERPETUATE, then at least one more person sees this labor dispute for what it is.

        A bunch of rich people whose pride is costing them more money in total than what they would give up by negotiating a deal.

  2. phillyphan93 - Oct 4, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    Terrible…….

  3. freneticgarfieldfan - Oct 4, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    Pure NHLPA propaganda.
    “…while negotiations continue.” – the players and their union are the ones who don’t want to negotiate, don’t want to move from their guaranteed salary rises (2%/4%/6% over the next 3 years). The league, meanwhile, moved quite close to the 50/50 split.

    • trick9 - Oct 4, 2012 at 4:31 PM

      Don’t be an idiot and forget which side is having to move down and which one up. It’s clear that owners want 50/50 split, so that is 7% less for the players. What do you think would happen if players would say that we aren’t going to play unless you cut your share 7%?

      • desertfan - Oct 4, 2012 at 8:13 PM

        Equates to a 12% reduction in current years salaries.

        So a $5M new deal goes down to$4.4

        A $1M goes to $880,000

    • hockeydon10 - Oct 4, 2012 at 4:47 PM

      Uh… that guaranteed rise of 2/4/6% to the salary cap is actually smaller than the average they’ve gotten during the previous CBA.

      For the record, the salary cap has increased by the following amounts:
      05-06 = 11.4%
      06-07 = 12.6%
      07-08 = 11.3%
      08-09 = 0.2%
      09-10 = 4.4%
      10-11 = 7.7%
      11-12 = 8.5%

      A 2% increase on the current cap of 70.2 would be 71.6. This is nearly a freeze on salaries and is far smaller than the average revenue increase we’ve seen these past seven years. The only smaller increase than the 2% minimum they’re asking for happened during the Great Recession.

      • johninpa - Oct 4, 2012 at 4:59 PM

        Perhaps a bigger part of the problem for the owners is the salary “basement”. While the cap has grown more modestly, the basement is up dramatically, something like 150%. Small markets teams can’t afford it, thus are losing money.

        If the players have to give up 7%, that means for every $100,000 of salary they lose $7000. It’s a lot of money, but still means you made $93,000 to play hockey (and for most players you can add a zero to the end of my numbers). We tend to favor the players, but without profitable owners there is no NHL.

      • tatdue - Oct 4, 2012 at 6:55 PM

        Try and find a pro baseball player that thinks that Fehr was bad for them or the game…..good luck with that…….. Personally I want Bettman gone, for that to happen he has to lose…..and if anybody can beat that little bastard it’s Fehr……I want this to be the last stoppage we have to endure period….

      • blomfeld - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:51 AM

        @ tatdick – you’re completely right man ! :) … the current “Joe Average” NHL salary of 2.4 million is a travesty to say the least eh ? … keep splitting those atoms there Einstein ! … and while you’re at it, go chomp on a human log, you sickening waste of skin !

      • tatdue - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:14 PM

        @blomfeld – Now there’s a grown up comment….

  4. steverolley - Oct 4, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    Players are commited to playing…… in Russia and Europe

    Fehr acts as if everyone is rooting for the players, fact of the matter is that most fans are sick or Bettman, Fehr, the owners, AND THE PLAYERS

    its all of their fault, stop trying to act like the players are in this for something meaningful, they are in it for money just like the owners

    you all suck. so please shut up because your problems make ordinary people want to puke

  5. wethog66 - Oct 4, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    I don’t know enough about what the two sides in this BS are asking for to take the side of the owners or the players, but I knew the moment Donald Fehr was hired by the players to represent them that canceled games was a sure thing, and a canceled season was a real possibility. After what Fehr did back in the days when he reprsented MLB players this doesn’t surprise me.

    But with the Nats and O’s in the playoffs, and Robert Griffin sparking life into the Skins, I won’t really give a **** about lost NHL games till the NFL regular season is over. Oh well.

    • hockeydon10 - Oct 4, 2012 at 4:49 PM

      Good point about Fehr.

      But in the 18 years since his responsibility for canceled MLB games resulted in that CBA, how many work stoppages have they had?

      In the same 18 years — which are all Bettman — how many work stoppages has the NHL had to suffer through?

      • jtrain1966 - Oct 5, 2012 at 3:09 PM

        Yeah but, baseball has had CBA negotiations come up since Fehr has been out as the rep for the MLBPA ! What’s your response for that ?

  6. steverolley - Oct 4, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    Shut up Bill Daily every fan wants to see you gone with your buddy Gary and your nemesis Fehr

    You All Suck

  7. bcsteele - Oct 4, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    “Fehr and the players continue to fight the bold fight to win public support, but if the schedule gets wiped out by a work stoppage, that battle is over with and the fans will demand results.”

    Amen. As a fan, I’m to this point already.

  8. eyeh8goodell - Oct 4, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    I hope the whole season is cancelled. I want Bettman driven out of the game. You may not agree with Fehr’s statement, but he’s right……….with 3 lockouts in a row the proof is in the pudding. The players are getting thier paychecks elsewhere for playing hockey, and the owners will learn a valuable lesson that that the players are the draw, the product, and the star of the show. No elite talent = no NHL. The owners can go back to the crooked financial and real estate industries where they likely got their money in the first place. The players don’t need the NHL or these particular owners to get paid to play hockey.

    • jtrain1966 - Oct 5, 2012 at 3:16 PM

      Yeah the star players will enjoy playing for peanuts overseas . How long do you think it’ll be before they start this BOOSHIZ over there & them owners tell them to take a hike ?

  9. johninpa - Oct 4, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    Study a little history. See what a mess Fehr made on baseball when he represented the MLB players union. I’m no fan of Bettman, but Fehr is a real snake.

    • hockeydon10 - Oct 4, 2012 at 4:51 PM

      You mean after his got his way in the MLB CBA they haven’t had a single work stoppage since then?

      Compared to the same time span where Bettman got his way and the NHL now has three work stoppages?

      • johninpa - Oct 4, 2012 at 5:20 PM

        From Wikipedia, “With the NHL locking out at midnight on September 15, 2012, Fehr has become the only Executive Director to be directly involved in work stoppages in two sports. He has never negotiated a labor agreement without a work stoppage.” From http://articles.nydailynews.com, “the executive director who presided over the baseball work stoppage that led to the cancellation of the 1994 World Series, the man who fought implementation of a drug policy until his players forced the issue by exceeding a testing baseline for performance-enhancing substances.” Sounds like a real reasonable kind of guy. I’ll stand by my statement. Like I said, I’m no fan of Bettman, but I have little hope for Fehr negotiating in good faith. It was really good for baseball to not have an effective drug policy in place wasn’t it?

  10. gomer1 - Oct 4, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem…

  11. aventador12 - Oct 4, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    Players? Committed? Will continue to fight? Yeah, if you say so, except the ones that bolted to play in Europe and Russia. Now that’s commitment…….to play hockey…….I guess…….seems like it’s pretty much game over.

    • jtrain1966 - Oct 5, 2012 at 3:20 PM

      I AGREE TOTALLY !

  12. sharkcity408 - Oct 4, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    As a hardcore hockey fan I’ve accepted that there will be no hockey this season. I’m over it. It sucks but I’ve dealt with it. Here’s to next season

    • jtrain1966 - Oct 5, 2012 at 3:21 PM

      If there is one!

  13. desertfan - Oct 4, 2012 at 8:22 PM

    Jim Hughson prbably the most learned and respected announcer in hockey sited the following stats:

    -the average NHL career isless than 4 years- a loss of a season means 25% of earnings forever

    -after the last lost season 20% of the players did NOT come back to play -EVER.

  14. ziggt - Oct 4, 2012 at 10:46 PM

    No way the owners can start the season without a contract. When baseball did that on ’94, we lost the World Series (remember Donald). The NHLdid the same thing in ’92 and the players struck on Apr 1 putting significant pressure on the owners to settle. In today’s lockout I have no sympathy for either side … But strategically, I think the owners are making their best power move now. Fear is no idiot but he has to be joking if he thinks the owners will turn over power to him and the union by starting the season.

  15. ewoods6 - Oct 5, 2012 at 8:29 AM

    Seriously, how can ANYONE be on the side of Bettman and the Owners??

    • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:26 AM

      The better question is “how can you side with either?”

      I wrote above:

      The players are as wrong as the owners. To lump everything on the owners is to assume to players ARE like cattle or at the very least a mindless mob.

      -The players agreed to sign cap circumventing deals knowing it went against the very purpose of the salary cap and league parity. If all the responsibility falls on the owners, then it paints a picture of the player basically acting like a sheep…being herded into the conference room, directed to sign the contract, and mindlessly agreeing.

      -The players agreed each year to max out the salary cap. And this was after being advised each year by the commissioner that doing so would cause monetary issues for the smaller market teams which weren’t growing as fast as the league itself. So, once again the mindless mob inflated the cap by their own votes.

      The players are adults not children. A guy like Craig Adams gradated from Harvard. Yet they act as if “the big bad owners are just trying to squeeze us little guys and deerrrrr we are just toooo innocent and stupid to do anything about it”…….That mantality is an insult to what human beings are capable of! And Fehr is perpetuating it!

    • jtrain1966 - Oct 5, 2012 at 3:34 PM

      Because, wherever you work do you, & your coworkers make 57% of revenue ? I highly doubt you guys, & gals make north of 35% of revenue, & I don’t want to hear about comparisons between pro athletes, & a normal working class human being ! They, being the pro athlete doesn’t work nearly as hard as you, or I & we don’t make anywhere near as much as them & we do more to actually help people in our community’s ! But that’s my humble opinion .

  16. bleedingteal4life - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    Well this year is shot. Even if things get straightened out, it’s still not going to be a real season. It’s bs. It’s obvious neither of them care about the fans. All they care about is money and themselves. It’s a joke. All this “we care and support our fans” and “we are sorry but its the other guy’s fault” bs. No one wants to take responsibility and no one wants to be the bad guy. Well now they are all bad guys!

  17. tdb115 - Oct 5, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    You all hear yourselves, right? “They don’t care about the fans.” “They don’t care about the game.” “They only care about money.” “They’re millionaires and billionaires.”

    Wake up!!! Of course they don’t care about the fans or the game. Of course they only care about money. You’d do the same damn thing if you were in either one of their shoes. Don’t hand me your all high and mighty moral bullcrap either. The reason janitors and short order cooks get paid so little is that anybody could do that job. Your pay isn’t based on how physically demanding or intellectually taxing your job is. It’s about scarcity. How many people CAN do your job as well as you? That’s what your worth! No one can play like Ovie, or Crosby, or Parise, or ad nauseum. That’s why they’re worth millions jack hole!

    None of “them” owe any of “us” ANYTHING. The NHL is entertainment; nothing more than Friends, Seinfeld, Big Bang Theory, or whatever other popular entertainment analogy you’d like to use. This is an entertainment brand, pure and simple. The producers (Bettman and owners) want to minimize their costs (revenue sharing). The actors (the hockey players) want to maximize their paycheck (derived from said revenue sharing).

    Would The Godfather been as great a movie if Bob Saget was Don Corleone? Of course not! So no one is going to watch a bunch of scabs lace up and bang. And the players want a) to play hockey and b) to get paid for it. Solution: Find a league that has the biggest pluses and the smallest minuses. That’s free market. So until they come to an agreeable solution, the show is on hiatus. Period. If that upsets you, watch a different program. I hear ESPN is airing KHL hockey.

    Who knows? If Bettman and the owners suck as bad as we all think they do, maybe the NHL goes tits up and a new league takes over as the premiere hockey league in the world. One thing you can be sure of, the best players in the world are going to be attracted to whoever is paying the most money for their services. And the wherever the best players go, so too does our fandom.

    Conclusion: Neither side is sinner and neither side is saint. We’re all just a bunch of squirrels trying to get a nut in this world. Stop being jealous of everyone else’s nuts and take care of your own.

  18. jtrain1966 - Oct 5, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    I still can’t figure out why Fehr, & the Players think they’re entitled to more than 50% of HRR ? Of course they want to keep playing under the old CBA, that’s because they knew after the last CBA they were able to get the deal they wanted & this time they won’t ! I’m tired of hearing the players crying wolf about salary rollback ! They’ll find a way to make that back by the time they get locked out again ! Trust me people when I say that : Players strike when they don’t feel like they have a good deal, Owners will lock out Players when they don’t have a good deal for themselves !

    • phillyphanatic76 - Oct 5, 2012 at 7:57 PM

      Except this deal was good for the owners until there were record revenues on the table. Bettman was more smug than usual after the cba was completed in 04-05 because it was a victory for the league. The salary cap was propped up by the owners as the solution to ALL the NHLs problems. They said it would cut costs, keep salaries down, and lower ticket prices. Is it the players fault or the fans fault that they made a gross miscalculation? In Bettmans press conference when he officially announced the lockout he said that the owners will not be held to the terms of the last agreement while negotiating a new deal. Then his next sentence was that the idea of increasing escrow, basically reducing salaries, was on the table because players had agreed to it in the last cba. The league is operating from a double standard. They praised the salary cap as the savior of all problems then every team went around circumventing it with huge contracts front loaded with bonuses. I understand it takes two to make a deal but what person wouldn’t accept the ridiculous deals struggling franchises were throwing around. The owners want to clean up the mess they’ve created by asking for their money back (and I agree 57% is unfair). But they’re refusing to look at any other solutions. The fans and the players are the ones being held accountable for the leagues mistakes. I have nothing against southern teams but did Atlanta really need two franchises before Bettman figured it wasn’t gonna work? Tampa Bay, Florida, Nashville, Dallas, San Jose, Anaheim, and Carolina all have their fans but they are never gonna bring in revenue like Toronto, Montreal, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, or Detroit. That is why some sort of revenue sharing must be implemented. Like I said above, a soft salary cap would work. And talk about double standard, how can Bettman complain about salaries being out of control while he’s paying himself $8million? And Daly is getting a few million himself. If the league is in such a financial crisis what can justify those absurd salaries.

      • jtrain1966 - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:31 PM

        I don’t disagree with you at all about REVENUE SHARING . I just don’t know how they’ll do it . I can’t remember if it was you or somebody else who said something about letting the owners who can spend the money go over the cap & pay essentialy a luxury tax, & then put that into escrow for the financially strapped teams . I’m too a Flyers, & Blues fan & I just wish there could be a way for the Blues to be a little more competitive with teams like the Flyers in getting big name free agents !

        P.S. : How is Pronger doing ? I haven’t heard anything about him lately .

      • jtrain1966 - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:34 PM

        I agree with you on Bettman, & Daly’s salaries that’ F@&$ING ABSURD !

      • phillyphanatic76 - Oct 6, 2012 at 1:37 AM

        Yeah that’s the idea of a soft salary cap that I talked about farther up the page. I think, coupled with a more even distribution of revenue, that it would solve a lot of issues for the teams struggling to get from red to black. It would help to even the playing field so that midmarket teams like the Blues could compete financially with the likes of the Flyers. But teams that are loaded like the Flyers are fighting against these ideas because it’s too close to socialism for the free market loving owners. They’d rather hoard their wealth then do what needs to be done for the good of the league. And Bettman, instead of standing up to the top owners, he holds the players and the fans hostage. He takes away the game all for greed. That’s what is most upsetting about this lockout as compared to ’04. As for Pronger, sadly he’s not getting better. He’s still experiencing terrible headaches from post concussion syndrome. I’d say his career is over and I’d complain about how much it sucks for the Flyers to lose their captain but hockey is the least of his concerns now. Its a terrible shame.

      • jtrain1966 - Oct 6, 2012 at 5:26 AM

        Thanks for the info !

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