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Fehr’s letter to players outlines union’s three proposals, calls NHL offer “take it or leave it”

Oct 20, 2012, 1:24 PM EDT

Donald Fehr AP

While the NHL did their part in making their proposal to the players public this week, the NHLPA is doing the same in a roundabout sort of way.

NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr’s letter to the players was made public and in it he outlines each of the three proposals the union made to the owners on Thursday. In that letter, he makes sure to get a shot or two in at Gary Bettman and the NHL for their proposal.

Our hope was that the owners would find one of these three approaches worthy of serious discussion, but the owners rejected these ideas in less than 15 minutes, and further advised the players that their last offer was, in essence, a take it or leave it offer, subject to “tweaks only”.

Note that the league never said their offer was of the “take it or leave it” variety, but their outright rejection of their three proposals showed they weren’t too interested in what the players had to say. The harsh rhetoric from both sides is getting to be a bit much.

If you’re a fan of the numbers and want to see how the players broke it all down, ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun tabled it out for easier digestion.

  1. id4joey - Oct 20, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    Seems like both sides have a framework to work with and come to terms on some middle ground. If both sides are serious about reaching an agreement, then it is feasible that (as blomfeld predicted) the season will start before the beginning of December.

    • polegojim - Oct 21, 2012 at 10:01 AM

      Not really, NHLPA is taking an unreasonable stand, period.

      The last NHL offer was a reasonable compromise and many players said so.

      It’s no longer a negotiation and it’s become a ‘last stand’.

      • id4joey - Oct 21, 2012 at 10:24 AM

        Hang in there friend. There will be a season this year. Here’s why I think so; 1) both sides are closer than they say they are. Players are talking 50/50 split 2) a cancelled season would result in too much loss revenues for both sides 3) the game was broken in 04/05 lockout 4) 240 players didn’t play another game in NHL after the 04/05 lockout 5) the union has a responsibility to make sure this doesn’t happen again

      • polegojim - Oct 21, 2012 at 11:06 PM

        Well ID… all I can say is… 1) I hope you’re right 2) I believe Fehr is a cancer to the process.

      • elvispocomo - Oct 22, 2012 at 11:18 AM

        I don’t know which players you had heard, but the ones I heard say so did only as their initial reaction without having viewed it. Once they found out the details, they changed their tune.

        50/50 is a great sound bite: “We wanted to show we are serious so we offered 50/50.” The NHL happily left out the other less positive details of their proposal, including protecting the players’ contracts for the next two years by paying them out of their future HRR share. The NHLPA had a 50/50 sound bite too, so why did the NHL reject their proposals so soundly and in such a short time frame?

      • polegojim - Oct 22, 2012 at 11:33 AM

        No Elvis… NHL was straight up 50/50 now – it was what they said it was.

        NHLPA was 50/50 in 3-5 years… which has been the PRECISE issue… so why even respond? Their bytes were misleading and give’s Fehr less and less credibility in my book, and many others.

        NHL was honest and forthright… not so with NHLPA and Fehr. They’re continuing a shell game… but everyone knows where their pea is.

        That’s why I said… it’s ‘no longer’negotiation’. Fehr is basically just wrapping up the same ‘offer’ in different paper. He’s wasting everyone’s time and getting no-where.

      • elvispocomo - Oct 22, 2012 at 12:28 PM

        I didn’t say the NHL wasn’t 50/50. But clearly they had other clauses (like the protected contracts clause) that were not so rosy. If you can only see the flaws in one side’s proposals, then I can’t help you.

        I do agree with you on one thing though, when the NHL takes 15 minutes to review 3 proposals because they wanted only tweaks to their best possible offer, that certainly isn’t a negotiation.

      • elvispocomo - Oct 22, 2012 at 12:36 PM

        I should add it’s fairly clear you didn’t click on the second link in the article, where it has the details of Fehr’s letter to the players outlining the three options. They’re pretty honestly explained there, certainly as honestly explained as the NHL’s release on their proposal was.

      • polegojim - Oct 22, 2012 at 4:58 PM

        Yes – saw that. I may have misunderstood your comment.

  2. onbucky96 - Oct 20, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    Donald Fehr, shutting down professional sports since 1992. Drop dead u turd and settle, I want my Red Wings Hockey back.

    • esracerx46 - Oct 20, 2012 at 1:49 PM

      I’m agreeing with a wings fan. Thank you Fehr brothers. I WANT MY HAWKS!

      • crosberries - Oct 20, 2012 at 1:59 PM

        Right blame it all of fehr terrible that the players would expect the owners to pay the contracts they signed. Darn players.

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Oct 20, 2012 at 2:28 PM

        Fehr is just as guilty as the owners are. No reason to think the players shouldn’t take a 50:50 deal starting September 16th. Both the NFL and NBA players are at 50/50. NHL is way behind those sports in revenue. 50/50 should be seen as a good deal.

      • crosberries - Oct 20, 2012 at 4:46 PM

        The players did offer 50/50 they just asked the owners to pay the contracts out that both sides agreed to. What aren’t you getting?

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Oct 20, 2012 at 7:01 PM

        In the players proposals, the 50/50 split doesn’t occur until the 3rd year at the earliest. What part of that don’t you get? There is a proposal that wasn’t even 50/50, one was 57/43 players, which is where they are at right now.

      • polegojim - Oct 21, 2012 at 10:03 AM

        @crosberries…. Ditto greatminnesota’s comment.

        Paying out current contracts ISN”T 50/50 and continues to contribute to the issue.

        I have zero empathy left for the NHLPA

    • kitshky - Oct 20, 2012 at 6:00 PM

      Between Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr … only one of them has been a part of three consecutive work stoppages.

      • comeonnowguys - Oct 22, 2012 at 10:12 AM

        Conveniently forgetting Donald Fehr’s role in MLB’s strike, and his vehement defense of the players right not to get tested for PEDs.

      • kitshky - Oct 22, 2012 at 1:41 PM

        No, not at all. Conveniently pointing out that people screaming at Fehr being responsible for yet another NHL lockout need to remove themselves from their hatred of Fehr, realize that we’re talking about hockey, and take note that Gary Bettman has resided over 3 labour negotiations and all 3 have ended in work stoppages.

      • comeonnowguys - Oct 22, 2012 at 1:47 PM

        Oh I agree about Bettman. This sucks. This whole thing is like picking what is your favorite type of hepatitis, or which is your favorite Twilight movie.

        When it gets to this point, it really doesn’t matter. Just close your eyes and hope it’ll be over soon enough.

  3. esracerx46 - Oct 20, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    All those numbers are just like the tax code. Way more complicated and convoluted than it should be. I was very pro player at the start of this but the more the players talk and tweet the more i have become pro-owner. This pains me to the highest degree, but Bettman has done a good job.

  4. id4joey - Oct 20, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    Red Wings hockey, yep. Love to watch this team. Can anybody draft better than them? Amazing organization.

  5. canuck54143 - Oct 20, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    Make it a 10 year deal so us fans win! Use the first three to work towards 50/50 split with one amnesty per team. Entry level contracts three years four year allows restricted free agency, year five free agent with club option franchise tag that pays ave of top five. Players can only be franchised once in their careers, long term contracts are as long as you want but cap charge can’t go over 5%.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Oct 20, 2012 at 11:10 PM

      They should have made it a 10 year deal the last time around… Especially after missing an entire season

  6. id4joey - Oct 20, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    Hehehe. Hawks. Love to watch them as well. Awesome team and always fun to watch a Wings vs Hawks game. Today we are all simply hockey fans wanting our fix. Doesn’t matter who you root for…… until the puck drops…. Then all hell will break loose on PHT

  7. bcsteele - Oct 20, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    Here’s my idea cause I hate both sides now.

    50/50 split of revenue starting right now. No limits to contracts; add one extra year to entry level contract (to keep developing talent one extra year at lower cost to keep teams competitive). Cap hit for players in the minors making more than $1.5 million. Keep the current salary cap….

    And…the part that I’m totally on the side of the players with because of all the stupid deals that got done approaching this deadline…allow every player that isn’t happy with their current contract to opt out and be treated as RFAs. In other words, the team they signed with has primary negotiating power but other teams can tender deals as they re negoiate their deals.

    Fair for all, teams keep their teams due to no cap reduction. The players can settle or re do their contracts to get what they were initially promised by each individual owner. And the owner’s overall share is more so they can be happy.

    (I really don’t care if the math adds up I just want hockey and these are just he sticking point I’ve read).

    • stakex - Oct 20, 2012 at 3:03 PM

      That would be a great idea, if not for you ignoring the very issue that has made the lockout drag on… at a 50/50 split next season the players would be making less then their current contracts say they should. That would require a salary rollback, and the players don’t want that… and telling them they could re-do their contracts wouldn’t mean anything since the cap would be lower and thus they would be making less anyway.

      See how much of a problem this is getting to be? It all sounds very simple, but its actually a huge mess.

      • bcsteele - Oct 20, 2012 at 3:50 PM

        Please reference: “(I really don’t care if the math adds up I just want hockey and these are just he sticking point I’ve read).”

        This was a rant dude, I’ve never claimed to know what the hell they should do. I want hockey and could really care less which side loses it’s ass to make a deal happen if gives the fans their game back and puts back to work all the “lessor” folks that count on these venues to support their familes.

      • cardsandbluesforever - Oct 21, 2012 at 12:14 AM

        there’s a simple fix for the existing contracts. players might not like it at first but they get every penny they were promised on existing contracts and owners dont have to pay it out right off the bat.

        players with contracts over something like 5 mil per year ( negotiable- just threw out a random number) get 75% of that money now, the rest goes into an escrow account that is paid out to the player when they retire from NHL hockey.all the money goes into a common account controlled jointly by the NHL and NHLPA. for most of those big $$$ players that will be at least 5 years from now, some as much as 15 years from now. the money sits in bank accounts and grows interest, requiring the owners to put in less money than paying outright. the player in the end gets 100% of what he’s owed, and he gets a nice fat check at the end of his career- a retirement bonus if you will.

        the owners get the immediate 25% payroll reduction on the big contracts, but the player still gets every penny of what he was promised.

        also i would like to see a provision in the new CBA that if no new agreement is reached before the end of the CBA between the league and players that both will continue to operate under the previous CBA indefinately until a new agreement is reached, lockouts are permanently banned.

      • polegojim - Oct 21, 2012 at 10:10 AM

        And to add ot that, the players complaining that contracts aren’t getting paid out… basically they’re saying that when signing the contracts, they didn’t even consider that this CBA stand-off was coming.

        C’MON MAN, we all know you’re smarter than that.

      • elvispocomo - Oct 22, 2012 at 12:53 PM

        @cardsandbluesforever: The 3rd proposal effectively does that, except the money isn’t withheld until the player retires. The 50/50 split is there, which would reduce the player’s share by 13%, so 87% of the players’ payout on existing contracts would count to the cap while the 13% would be paid similar to the escrow money. Your way might well help the owners more, but then that money isn’t earning interest for the players, so they effectively lose out on money they would have gained.

        I do like the idea of a CBA continuing until a new one is negotiated, but you’d have to get the owners to cave on that one. It’s clear they want to have the bargaining power of a lockout, otherwise they would have taken the option for the one extra year of the last CBA, or at least allowed the season to proceed as normal while a new agreement was negotiated.

  8. finfan88shark - Oct 20, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    Why do you think you read all those stories about Peo Athletes being broke? Because most players don’t understand economics and let idiots like Fehr mislead them.

    • elvispocomo - Oct 22, 2012 at 1:01 PM

      Hmm, seems like a lot of the stories I’d heard were of NFL or NBA (where did Bettman work before the NHL?) players not managing their money properly. And the NHL is fond of using what leagues in comparison to ours to try and talk up this 50/50 split again? The NFL and the NBA.

      He fails to note that despite the 50/50 split in the NBA, the players contracts were literally protected (and not by taking money from their future 50% share to pay for it).

  9. stakex - Oct 20, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    Reading the players offers make it clear why the owners rejected them. The 3rd option which the players have been saying was a 50/50 split isn’t even close to that. In the first year, by the players own numbers, they would still make 56.7% of HRR. 56.7% is not 50%… and it doesn’t take much time to run those numbers.

    The reason for this is simple… if the players were to take a 50/50 split they would make 87% of what their current contracts say. So what the players offer says is: “We’ll take the 50/50 split, but you still have to pay us the other 13% out of your share.”, which brings the actual percentage of HRR going to the players to 56.7%. So it would be a 50/50 split on the surface only.

    In fact, none of the players offers get close to 50% in the first three years. On top of that, these three offers are pretty much the same as the past offers the players have made. So when the players and Fehr act suprised the owners walked out… its nothing but PR BS.

    Bettman was right (*shudders*), both sides are not speaking the same language.

  10. kingjoe1 - Oct 20, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    Fehr’s has a strategy, it is simply, be a dick, get paid, be a bigger dick get paid even more, be a enormous, arrogant dick and become the moneyshot of getting paid. This isnt about being a strong union guy, he cashing while no one else is getting paid like the vendors, unions who set up the ice, hotels(unions) airlines(union workers) mechanics(union workers).

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Oct 20, 2012 at 7:07 PM

      While he’s making the big bucks now, it’s the players he represents that aren’t making paychecks on American or Canadian soil. I guess if you want income go to Siberia or Russia or any other European country. Which I’m guessing are a minimal salary compared to the NHL.

  11. edotsing - Oct 20, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    First off I can’t lie, I am not a die hard hockey fan. I do love the sport and I have a certain team that attend games of and root for. However that’s what allows me to take emotion out of feelings for this lockout. Do I miss hockey hell yes I do. But I don’t want the players or the owners to just lay down and take either sides deal that is being offered.

    This is the same thing that happens with everywhere big corporations with unions. Every time the deal expires the workers want more and their employers want to give them less. It’s called negotiating, there is framework and common ground for both sides to work with. Should the players still get 57% probably not and should the owners not agree to pay the contracts the players that they already agreed to? Absolutely not they authorized and signed off on them deals. I don’t go to the store buy something only to take back months later and say I want part of my money back.

    I am not trying to offend any of the die hards, just trying to give this a fresh opinion without so many feelings and emotions tied into it. I honestly feel that a deal will be reached sometime in the near future and that both sides will be somewhat satisfied.

    • stakex - Oct 20, 2012 at 4:20 PM

      You are pretty much syaing both sides should win in this fight. If the players get paid what their current deals say, their share of HRR would be between 56-57%. So the players can’t get paid less, yet get paid their current deals at the same time.

      Again, its just not that easy of a problem.

      • edotsing - Oct 20, 2012 at 6:27 PM

        It’s easier than you think, in order to honor the deals you gradually roll back to 50%, over say a 2-4 yr period, if revenue continues to grow as it has (which will be tough at first cuz the league is going to have an imagine problem yet again with another lockout) then you can roll down to 50% faster due to the increased revenue into the HHR pool.

        And honestly both sides still could win, the only league where the players have been completely shafted was in the nfl, but the nfl actually knows how to run a business unlike the the nhl

  12. blomfeld - Oct 20, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    DARK SHADOWS ?

    Who does Fehr think he is by striking this “dramatic yet menacing” pose in the shadows ? … Barnabus Collins or something ? Anyway, there can only be one of three possible explanations for Bettman to have rejected his latest offer in less than 600 seconds:

    a) Fehr is a complete nincompoop who doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing ?

    b) Bettman is a complete nincompoop who doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing ?

    c) the entire affair is a “staged” production and the actors are merely keeping to the script ?

    As you know, I maintain that option “c” is the most likely explanation here. For those of you who were paying attention, you’ll recall that as far back as last January they began “hinting” about the possibility of a lockout come September (ie: this is referred to as laying a foundation). Then as the summer approached, the “hinting” continued to increase with ever greater intensity, so that by the time summer was actually here, the “hinting” had become a “full on” clamor. Needless to say, hockey fans everywhere by Sept 15th had been fully “brainwashed” to the notion that a labor impasse was real, with the resultant lockout being an unfortunate yet “unavoidable” consequence.

    People like Bettman and the owners are very smart and very shrewd people … that’s why they’re in the positions they are today. So you have to ask yourself … if we as common fans are able to see the “insanity” of sending this entire season over the cliff, then don’t you think that they would see that too ? And no, we’re not talking about the fat cats sitting on the actual thrones (ie: Comcast, Anschutz, Molsons). We’re talking about the lieutenants or “2nd in commands” if you will, the people who will lose their very own careers should this thing blow up. Well I say that just simply isn’t going to happen ! I believe that these people have a plan in place, with a pre-determined start date for the season, based on an already “agreed upon” CBA. As far as I’m concerned, this entire charade is nothing more than “smoke and mirrors” designed to conceal a hidden agenda, which is being driven by a successful “fear-mongering” campaign. Don’t you guys remember back to the days of Bush’s “colored” Terror-Threat Level warnings on TV every night ? Anyway, something needs to happen now over the coming 2-3 weeks, if my theory is correct about a US Thanksgiving holiday weekend start to the season.

    ps: I will admit that obviously I could be completely wrong on this too ? After all, I don’t profess to be anything but a humble hockey fan myself. And if that’s the case, then like many of you, I do fear that we really are screwed here ? But that’s “not” what I’m thinking friends ! … no way ! … at least not for another 2-3 weeks ! :)

  13. fortwaynekomets - Oct 20, 2012 at 6:34 PM

    I hate money.

    I love hockey.

    I hate people.

  14. bills4 - Oct 20, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    Take it. You’ll still be millionaires. The nerve of the players if they don’t settle!!

  15. davida2012 - Oct 21, 2012 at 2:56 AM

    Why is anyone on the players side ?? Like the my are slaves… Come on they make tons and rev sharing too and want more. Owners are that , owners !!!!

    • kitshky - Oct 21, 2012 at 2:41 PM

      …your grasp of business relations, partnerships, and labour negotiations is stunning.

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