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Fehr: “Today is not a good day. It should have been, but it wasn’t”

Oct 18, 2012, 5:20 PM EDT

Donald Fehr AP

NHLPA boss Donald Fehr addressed the media following a brief meeting with the NHL, and left those in attendance with a pessimistic message:

Thursday wasn’t a good day.

Flanked by Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, Fehr spoke about a players’ union that appears to have lingering issues — and a lot of resentment — stemming from the last collective bargaining agreement.

Among the highlights (if you can call them that) of Fehr’s address:

— Players are still upset about what they lost during the 2004-05 lockout, and aren’t prepared to lose the things they gained.

— The union wants all contracts honored. Fehr made specific mention of the ones “signed within the last few months,” likely referring to the flurry of deals inked just prior to the Sept. 15 CBA expiration.

— Fehr claimed the NHL has failed to explain or justify why it wants a “better” deal than its previous one, other than the fact NBA and NFL owners received one.

— In terms of negotiations, the union was told the NHL would only “tweak” its last offer. Ergo, the NHLPA bringing three separate proposals to the table didn’t fit within the owner’s framework for bargaining.

Here’s Fehr:

  1. therealjr - Oct 18, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    Lingering resentment from 8 years ago, that’s certainly the best recipe for negotiating today. Fools.

  2. chrisvegas - Oct 18, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    For all those fans drinking the Owners Kool-Aid and jumping on the owner’s side, you need to know this whole offer was a PR stunt. The owners recently hired republican marketing guru Frank Luntz who is a genius at shifting public opinion. The owners new before offering this deal that it would absolutely be turned down by the players union and that by doing so they could shift public blame from them to the players. Unfortunately many took the bait. First the Owners acted like they really moved from their original unreasonable position and wanted to get a deal done, when they barely did. The players turned around and offered THREE deals showing that they were willing to negotiate and take different paths to getting to a resolution. The owners then publically came out saying how disappointed they were that the NHL Players didn’t want to compromise. Can’t you see that this is all BS from the owners? The owners never really offered to give up anything in their deal! The players are the ones who have already agreed to take a lesser deal of around 3 %, but no the owners want them to go from 57% to 50%. The owners are the ones who are wrong in this matter and I am sticking by the players 100%. Also remember that 50-50 isn’t really that when you have 100s of players compared to a handful of owners. It isn’t really 50-50.

    • cweez2 - Oct 18, 2012 at 5:38 PM

      I’ll reserve judgement until the NHLPA’s ‘deals’ are released to the public. Who says those deals were anything more than just their re-hashed proposals?

      • cweez2 - Oct 18, 2012 at 5:44 PM

        I stand slightly corrected. Proposal #3 was closer if the NHL offered current contracts.

      • cweez2 - Oct 18, 2012 at 5:45 PM

        *honored current contracts

      • getadealdonealready - Oct 18, 2012 at 6:28 PM

        cweez2 – I agree, and there is enough blame to go around. I blame both parties for wrecking the game I love, and having more stoppages than all the other sports!

    • jimw81 - Oct 18, 2012 at 5:40 PM

      that’s what fehr did, he chewed up Frank Lutz’s focus group based on actual proposals and infomation. this is blow back on gary and owners now.

    • therealjr - Oct 18, 2012 at 5:42 PM

      Who cares if it’s really 50-50? How many players finished in the red last year? Or are you going to tell me losing 250k of your $5M salary is losing money? Have you ever owned a business?

      • paperlions - Oct 18, 2012 at 9:41 PM

        None of the owners really finished in the red either. Every owner makes money (plus accrues value in the franchise) every single year…just because they hide profits in shifty accounting doesn’t make it true.

    • smdy87 - Oct 18, 2012 at 5:54 PM

      Blame the owners? Please…. It is a Business they are employees the fact they even get 50% is beyond me. This so called union that complains that they dont get a say in how the Employer runs the business or should get a bigger cut then the owners is unreal. Let them go play overseas there are plenty of players and new stars every coming every year that would love to play in the nhl. Players are killing the game not the owners and the blame should be put completly on the players.

      • paperlions - Oct 18, 2012 at 9:43 PM

        The problem with that line of thinking is that the “employees” are the entire basis of the business and are not fungible resources.

    • pkeenan2012 - Oct 18, 2012 at 5:56 PM

      Well said chrisvegas. Also at the 50-50 split the players are still taking almost a 15% pay cut. Plus with the roll back (escrow) if they play less than an 82 game season it appears the money comes out of the players end. They said they wanted to get away from these long term, inflated contracts. However the owners who own the Phoenix Coyotes gave a 36 year old, Shane Doan, a four year $21 million dollar contract. Seems to me the owners don’t want to adress the real problem. That of course is how do they shore up the small market teams in a fair and reasonable fashion.

    • stakex - Oct 18, 2012 at 6:00 PM

      You don’t even know the the players deals are, so how can you act like those deals show the players are willing to negotiate and take different paths to getting a resolution? The fact remains that 50% of NHL teams lose money every year… and that is unsustainable.

      How many NHL players actually lost money last season? Oh right… none of them, because the players don’t own anything (they are very high paid employees) and have absolutely no risk in the process. The NHL has a bad year? Oh well, the players still get paid… its the owners who take the hit. See the difference there? THATS why the players are the ones who need to take the haircut when things aren’t going that well.

      Now we can talk all day about just how much money the players need to give up, and how current contracts should be handled… but make no mistake about it, a lot of players thought the owners deal was in the ballpark, so it wasn’t just a PR move.

    • mgdsquiggy17 - Oct 18, 2012 at 6:28 PM

      “Also remember that 50-50 isn’t really that when you have 100s of players compared to a handful of owners. ”

      Really? So the players are the ones paying all the front office and event staff right? they are paying for all the marketing, ticketing, community relations, etc that every team has? The players are paying the rent at the arena, to maintain the ice and building. I guess all those first class flights, practice facilities, food, hotel rooms and on and on are coming from the players 50% right? Get a clue. While there are only a handful of owners there are more then 100’s of people who are relying on that OTHER 50%. What risk do the players have? Contracts are guaranteed, if they suck or don’t make the playoffs they are still paid the same.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Oct 18, 2012 at 6:32 PM

      Explain to me how the NHL players should be given a bigger piece of the pie compared to the NFL and NBA, where both sports having higher revenues than the NHL. Until Fehr and Co. realize their place in sports, well behind the NFL, behind the NBA, MLB, and is gettng rather close to being passed by something called MLS. Both the NFL and NBA players agreed to take a 50/50 spilt in their CBA’s they hashed out a year ago.

      What your failing to realize is that even if it is a 50/50 spilt, the players salaries are going to go up as revenues go up. The last lockout, the Canadian dollar was .75 to the American dollar. Right now, the Canadian dollar is higher than the US dollar. The NHL gets a large portion of their revenues from Canada. Nobody saw this coming 8 year ago, which is why the NHL is at record revenues today.

      The NHL had given the NHLPA weeks to prepare a proposal, the NHLPA sat around a wasted as much time as everyone else. The NHL finally made the first move with their offer the other day. Which, isn’t all that bad since we all know they will end up at 50/50 give or take a percent either way.

    • somekat - Oct 18, 2012 at 7:09 PM

      “its not really 50/50 because there are 100’s of players and only a handful of owners” may be the dumbest thing I’ve ever read on any forum.

      Yet you talk about people “drinking the owers kool-aid”

      I have a bridge to sell you, clown

    • phillyphanatic77 - Oct 18, 2012 at 8:45 PM

      I absolutely agree. Bettman and the owners came out and released only that they had offered a 50/50 split, something that outsiders have been calling for since day one. They didn’t release details on the entire offer until the next day. That way fans would see the 50/50 and say awesome what a fair deal, and Fehr and the players would have to be unreasonably greedy to turn that deal down. Now that they have, the owners are winning in the court of public opinion. I agree that 50/50 is right but there are many issues with the owners proposal. And because Bettmans first few offers were such low balls this one looks like a huge concession, when they’re actually getting everything they want. The glimmer of hope is that the actual negotiations have finally begun. Should’ve started months ago tho.

  3. id4joey - Oct 18, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    As if any other day has been good since the lockout. C’mon Fehr! Lets get real and deal.

  4. id4joey - Oct 18, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    If course there is a big machine supporting the owners. PR specialist and the best labor negotiators money can buy. No surprise here.

  5. sippindasyzurp - Oct 18, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    Today marks the beginning of the end for the NHL..

    It will be years before we ever see hockey of this caliber again in North America.

    • icelovinbrotha215 - Oct 18, 2012 at 6:21 PM

      Sad but true.

  6. ron05342 - Oct 18, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    Fehr is full of sh*t.

    The reason this is a bad day is because of him…in his desire to put himself in the limelight, and make himself relevant for as long as possible, he is drawing out this drama to its bitter end…the loss of the entire season.


  7. csimonetta9 - Oct 18, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    What are all you guys hating on Fehr for? He just offered the NHL 50-50 as long as owners honor their current contracts. As soon as they pitched that, they rejected the offers in 10 minutes. How can you get more fair than that? Owners tried to pull a PR stunt by pressuring players with a week deadline to save season.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Oct 18, 2012 at 6:35 PM

      Can’t you say the same thing that the owners offered a 50/50 split and he shot it down in 2 days?

      • csimonetta9 - Oct 18, 2012 at 7:05 PM

        Did you see the other (NHL’s) proposal in its entirety? Its much more than just the HRR. the players offered 50/50 too but the only thing they asked for was to have all contracts honored. Why would the Owners give players lengthy contracts if they can’t pay for them? Players > Owners

      • somekat - Oct 18, 2012 at 7:13 PM

        did you see the players offers in their entirety?

        No, so be quiet

  8. aventador12 - Oct 18, 2012 at 6:13 PM

    Looking to be a game-over/no more tokens scenario….(-_-)…..

  9. barkar942 - Oct 18, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    Dear NHL owners and NHLPA,

    You can all go to H-E-Double Hockey Sticks!

    There is not one of you that don’t make in a week what I make in a year.
    Keep being SCABS in Europe and Asia. Shows you what you all live for. GREED!

  10. icingking - Oct 18, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    So tired of watching billionaires trying to make more billions and millionaires trying to make more millions.

  11. somekat - Oct 18, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    EXACTLY what I said would happen. They take a fair deal, that needed some tweaks, that the owners made clear was their best offer, and pretended like it was an insult and at best a starting point. This will end at best 4-5 months from now, and it is squarly on Fehr for thinking he is more important than the players, and the players for parroting everything this moron says

  12. hossmans - Oct 18, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    The players 50/50 is a load of crap. Here’s the quote from the NHL explaining “Daly, in a statement, said: “The so called 50-50 deal, plus honoring current contracts proposed by the NHL Players’ Association earlier today is being misrepresented. It is not a 50-50 deal. It is, most likely a 56- to 57-percent deal in Year One and never gets to 50 percent during the proposed five-year term of the agreement. The proposal contemplates paying the Players approximately $650 million outside of the Players’ Share. In effect, the Union is proposing to change the accounting rules to be able to say ‘50-50,’ when in reality it is not. The Union told us that they had not yet ‘run the numbers.’ We did.”

    I wish my boss would give me 50/50 split of company revenue. I would get fired just for asking.

    • langforc - Oct 19, 2012 at 11:02 AM

      You would get fired for asking because you aren’t the product, the players are the product. Without them the NHL is nothing. I love hockey and this is killing me but it also makes me angry that the owners signed off on these mega deals and are now claiming to be broke. Sure, they said they would make sure to pay them off down the road but that is only if the league continues to grow. As was pointed out earlier the Canadian dollar is worth more than the US dollar at the moment and that is part of the reason for the record profits. I hate this whole situations but I don’t feel like the owners negotiated those contracts in good faith.

  13. schlomo31 - Oct 18, 2012 at 9:44 PM

    well, i guess this is what it has come down to…i say let them cancel the season, let them loose the billions, i will just take my goalie gear and go to my local roller hockey rink and play hockey for the love of the game. when the billionaires and millionaires stop acting like children, then maybe i will start watching the NHL again, but ya know it’s really fun playing the game with my buddies, and then out for drinks after, who needs the NHL.

  14. blomfeld - Oct 18, 2012 at 10:54 PM


    No offense friends, but that’s basically what this thread amounts to. Now I’ll have you know that I’ve borrowed that excellent expression from a fellow commenter who’s actually posted here above … :) Anyway, the bottom line is that you guys continue to but into this charade “lock, stock and barrel” and now your misguided fears seem to be turning into a wholesale panic and retreat ? Well suffice it to say that you guys would never have made for “daring and brave” 18th century British grenadiers, that’s for sure ! Regardless of whether or not you agree that this is a “contrived” plan, the fact remains that here we are only 7 days past the season’s original start date and already so many of you have thrown in the towel ? … “oh I hate hockey, oh I’m cancelling my season’s tickets, oh I’m never watching another game” etc. How can you people be broken so easily ? Just the amount of money at stake alone, should be enough for you people to realize that this “will” be resolved in very short order. Look, no different than an illustrious formation of Her Majesty’s “Coldstream Guards” gloriously advancing on the field of battle, we hockey fans too are also supposed to be a tough, determined, unflappable and “ever” resilient lot. When faced with adversity, we’re not supposed to break rank, run and whine like sissies. No sir ! Rather, we close rank and press home the attack with even greater zeal ! Now if more of you people were LA Kings fans, then you’d likely know what I’m talking about. Last June after losing game 5 in New Jersey, we Kings realized that the momentum was in danger of swaying to the enemy and therefore game 6 back in LA was crucial. So did you see us Kings start whining and crying about all being lost ? No you didn’t ! What you saw was a team which responded to adversity by upping the ante even more ! And by doing so, we “gave it” to the Devils in a way which they’ll soon not forget ! Please be optimistic friends and never give in to despair … :)

    note: this excellent Stanley Kubrick footage is partially inaccurate, in that it purports that 18th century musket fire was “lethally” accurate from a range exceeding 300 yards, which it was not … in this scene, the French would have only fired one volley before the advancing British Grenadiers were upon then with “point blank” fire themselves and “fixed bayonets” …

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