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Report: NHL feels Fehr’s memo didn’t fairly portray their offer to players

Nov 9, 2012, 8:07 PM EDT

Fehr and Bettman AP

The NHL thinks Donald Fehr’s recent memo didn’t do a fair job of portraying their latest proposals to the players, according to multiple NHL sources that spoke to the Star Tribune.

In the memo, Fehr suggested that a “significant gap remains” in terms of the NHL’s “make whole” proposal, but the league believes it’s latest offer is essentially what the players have been demanding.

In exchange for immediately shifting hockey-related revenues to 50-50, the owners are willing to make deferred payments with interest to players for the money they’d be losing over Years 1 and/or 2 as a result of the change. That money will be given to the players in Year 3.

Those payments “would not go against their share and the league is guaranteeing it no matter where the revenue of the league goes,” a league source said.

It looks like the league’s logic is that by Year 3 the players will be getting the amount they signed for pre-lockout even after the reduction in their share of HRR because of an increase in league revenues.

In other words, NHL reportedly thinks that it has presented the league with a solution that would reduce HRR to an even split while still honoring the existing contracts.

Fehr also listed off in his memo a number of issues involving “crucial individual contracting rights,” which he said that the NHL is demanding that the union must agree to.

The league sources said that’s not true and that the NHL is willing to negotiate points like salary arbitration and unrestricted free agency eligibility. However, the NHL wants measures in place to limit each team’s ability to front-load contracts because it feels that teams have been using that tactic as a means to reduce their salary cap burden.

Another key sticking point right now is how much money the players would earn if the lockout were to end today. The NHLPA reportedly wants the players to get 100% of their 2012-13 salaries but, because of the lockout, the players won’t be doing 100% of the work and the league won’t generate the same amount of revenue. The NHL wants to give the players a prorated amount, so they would theoretically make 60 games worth of pay if the 2012-13 campaign is 60 games long.

That’s a lot to digest, but if it’s all accurate, it could be an indication that the sides are potentially closer than it appears. However, it still looks like there is plenty of work to do.

  1. coreydm80 - Nov 9, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    Lets hope so

  2. beerjunkie69 - Nov 9, 2012 at 8:18 PM

    YAWN. Blah blah blah. Wake me when it’s resolved and the puck drops.

  3. jimw81 - Nov 9, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    Going after Fehr is the NHL’s most disingenuous media ploy and Russo is getting played by the league.

    • jimw81 - Nov 9, 2012 at 8:38 PM

      League’s objective is to take down Fehr just like the way they did with Goodenow and it’s not going to work.

      • ron05342 - Nov 9, 2012 at 10:04 PM


        Even if it was a ploy by the league, it sure seems to have worked last time in their favor.

      • id4joey - Nov 10, 2012 at 9:35 AM

        I don’t believe for a minute the players are willing to lose a whole year’s salary. So, Fehr won’t be able to hold off the players from getting some sort of salary this year.

    • stakex - Nov 9, 2012 at 10:10 PM

      Did you ever consider that the NHL is telling the truth, and Fehr cares more about having a lockout and looking like a hard ass then he does the players?

      People need to remember that there is only one person in this whole thing with nothing to lose… Fehr. If the season is lost, he can walk away without a care in the world. The owners, Bettman, and the players will all lose if that happens.

      So stop acting like the owners are the ones who don’t want this to end.

      • id4joey - Nov 10, 2012 at 9:44 AM

        The owners are dictating the timeline. They were quick to reject the PA’s three proposals in October. They were quick to cancel all games in Nobember. Why do you think? Then they cancelled the WC. Owners never had the intention to settle this dispute in October. Ask yourself why. Now suddenly we see a blitz, a wiling to negotiate from their side. Why? I’m not sure I have the answers as to why, but, their actions are telling. Could it by that October and Nov are not profitable months? Are the expenses greater than revenues and profits?

  4. irokkit - Nov 9, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    Look, if this report is true in its essence and being brought forth as factual, then sign and play for a pro-rated pay!!!!

    There it’s done!!!

    Lace ’em up boys!!!!!

  5. dannythebisforbeast - Nov 9, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    No deal imminent. End of story

    Fehr is not a pushover and will not give in til he gets what he wants or players remove him. I think he still has players believing in him and will for the duration

    NHL (Bettman) does not know what to do when faced with a real adversary, he is used to pushing over the players and their reps.

    Think 50 games or no games that’s my 2 outlooks.

    • stakex - Nov 9, 2012 at 10:12 PM

      Fehr says the big sticking point is making sure the NHL honors the current contracts. NHL says they will honor those contracts. Fehr says there is still large gap between the two sides.

      …thats not dealing with a real adversary. Thats dealing with someone that doesn’t want a deal.

    • id4joey - Nov 10, 2012 at 9:53 AM

      Fehr is union director, and is paid out of the players salary. He is not hired to push the players aside. Ultimately, they need to own up and be accountable for a deal being made or not. Same holds true for GB. He reports to the owners. You’re ill informed if you spew venom on the front men. Think 04/05. Big mistake by the players to underestimate the resolve of the ownership. However, back then the economic structure needed to be fixed I.e salary cap. This time it is about numbers. So, there is a deal to be made., and will be made if the players have a voice. There is no doubt these players learned from the 04/05 season, and they are reminded everyday by their agents,

  6. dlk75150 - Nov 9, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    I’ve been saying all along fehr is not in. It for the players only for himself. Wake up and smell the roses players, this guy is an idiot.

    • ron05342 - Nov 9, 2012 at 10:05 PM

      He’s not an idiot, but he has an ego the size of Texas and he doesn’t give two sh*ts about what the players want. It’s all about D. Fehr.

  7. buffalo65 - Nov 9, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    Fehr is only in to set up his brother to take over. That said, he wants to cut a good deal to set him up. This is a one and done for Donald.

  8. captaincanuck84 - Nov 9, 2012 at 9:55 PM

    I have supported the players in this lockout completely but if the sticking point is Fehr wants 100% of salary for this year I have to disagree with him. If they don’t play a full season they should be getting paid on a pro-rated basis. It’s the logical choice, so stop dragging your feet and get a deal done so players can receive as much dough as is fair.

  9. dannythebisforbeast - Nov 9, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    Fehr is an animal and although MLB lost a season look at what players won and the way it changed the game. Player salaries have skyrocketed. Not that I’m in favor of that but he did The job that he was paid to do. Anybody in his profession has to have a huge ego and balls to see it thru. Hopefully hockey doesn’t end up like MLB but again he will get the best deal for tether people he represents. Goodenow lost a season and gained nothing. I think Fehr has already got more than the NHL thought they would give up. I know it’s different issues before salary cap was all owners wanted and now they are driven by greed so it’s a matter of how greedy they want to be

  10. akmd1984 - Nov 9, 2012 at 10:50 PM

    I’m going to put this as nicely as I possibly can….

    Dear Mr Fehr,
    As a paying customer of the NHL I feel that I have the right to say, and I think I speak for all the die hard hockey fans here, please go #%^* yourself in the &@# so we can have our hockey back.

    A lifelong player and fan of the greatest game on earth

  11. thedavesiknowiknow - Nov 9, 2012 at 11:45 PM

  12. blomfeld - Nov 10, 2012 at 12:09 AM

    A deal’s coming friends … I can just feel it in my bones ! :)

  13. tonyricemajorharris - Nov 10, 2012 at 6:37 AM


  14. icelovinbrotha215 - Nov 10, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    Imagine if these ‘discussions’ where televised. Would be much easier to get a straight answer ha.

  15. phillyphanatic77 - Nov 10, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    Its funny that Bettman wants the union to make concessions because he wants measures in place to prevent teams from circumventing their own system again. Wouldn’t it make more sense to go after the teams? After all it was the owners and the GMs who were repeatedly handing out huge contracts that made a mockery of the old cba. Once again, in Bettmans eyes, it’s solely the players fault. And therefore it’s up to the union to concede.

  16. bills4 - Nov 10, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    I live in Canada and I’ve played hockey since I was 5. That said, I have, along with many of my friends lost interest in this game of greed. I am most disappointed in the players. If I ever went to my boss and asked for 50% of his revenue, he would fire me in a second. So what if the players are the product. I am also the product because without me, my boss wouldn’t make any money. The players make me sick. They should get their take after expenses are paid and the owner gets his cut. How many players would want to play in places like Florida or Columbus!

    • woodstakes - Nov 10, 2012 at 1:59 PM

      Thats an interesting take bills4, however not knowing you i’m going to make an assumption that you are probably NOT in the top 1% of people who do your same job. You can probably be replaced rather easily, albeit with training and time to the person replacing you. These players cannot just simply be replaced. Sure, they (owners) can simply throw sweaters on a bunch of lower level talents and put them on the ice. If they did so, how much money do you think NBC is going to pay them for that TV Contract? How much are we as fans going to pay to watch minor league hockey, while all the big boys are overseas in the KHL?? Look the fact of the matter you cannot equate what professional athletes do with what normal joes do. The top 1% of anyone in virtually any industry makes a buttload more money than those of us in the 99%. Take your pick: Chefs, Business, Law, Medical, Computer Sciences etc etc etc. So stop with the “IF I went to my boss…” crap! These guys are the best of the best at what they do. They work/play in an industry with which the Employer they work for makes $3.3 Billion in revenue. Without the players there IS no revenue. Yes, multimillionaires and billionaires are hard to come by as well for ownership but, there is not one of us out there that pay money to go watch the owners in their suite. Not one of us has a sweater on that has an owner’s name on the back. How much money does YOUR boss make on the merchandise he sells with your name on it? How much does he charge to let people in to watch YOU do your work? How much money has ESPN and NBC offered your boss to televise YOUR work?? Yes, you’re an employee who makes money for his company and yes his company cannot make money without his employees, HOWEVER I really doubt you are the PRODUCT in any way shape or form as these players.

  17. bjbeliever - Nov 10, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    LOL, Fehr wants the players to get full salaries for this season even if its a half season? Good luck with that

  18. bills4 - Nov 10, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    I was hoping the NHL would give them an ultimatum of a 50/50 split, take it or leave it. Why does the NHL care if there is no season. There are at least 20 teams losing money every year. This will be their best year yet. Bring the players up from the AHL and we will eventually all learn to love them. Put a pair of skates and an Oiler logo on a bear and I’ll cheer for him.

  19. id4joey - Nov 10, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    phillyphanatic77, Ask yourself the flowing question. Who does GB work for? If you answered the owners, then you are correct. Now, why would GB go after his employer?

  20. dannythebisforbeast - Nov 10, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    Bills4. Really you want players to take their cut after expenses etc?

    how many teams do you think make a profit but on paper lose money because of….expenses. if you left it to owners to tell you what’s left for you to be paid with they would like all day every day. Number has to be based on revenue,slightly harder to conceal.

  21. bills4 - Nov 10, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    First off, Danny, I think a lot of teams lose money on paper and in reality.

  22. bills4 - Nov 10, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    Secondly, wood, they can be replaced. Simple as that. 1%. Good for them. I pay to watch college hockey and am just as entertained. You talk about 3.3 billion like its a big number when other sports generate 3 times as much yet pay their players the same outrageous salaries. The only thing I will say badly about the owners is I do feel they have dug themselves a majority of this hole by signing these guys to unworthy contracts but that helps to make my point even more. The players know they are being extremely overpaid and they won’t budge. Come on!!!

    • woodstakes - Nov 11, 2012 at 1:40 AM

      Not quite sure what that rebut above is exactly but, you bring up the fact that $3.3 Billion is not a “big number” when other sports make 3 times more. Ok, so the NFL and MLB make 3 times more money. How much to the commishes in those leagues get paid?? I think MLB its around $10 Mil and about the same for NFL. Now, they make 3 times as much money as NHL right? The highest paid players in those leagues make between $20-$30 Million. Good players in those leagues make $12-$17 Million. Now lets compare that to the NHL and lets see who is over paid. Bettman makes $8 Million and the highest paid players in the NHL make $10 Million. So Bettman would be in the TOP 5 of the league if he was a player… NO WHO’s comparitively OVERPAID??? You say you watch College Hockey and have fun, great who does’t? So unless you live in one of the areas that have a hockey team that can’t make money, i’d bet your paying SUBSTANTIALLY less for that college game than you are for a NHL game. So, let’s put those same players in sweaters in the NHL and your telling me you’d go pay those prices to see those players?? I really seem to doubt that, especially when you know the best of the best are on ESPN or Online in the KHL. So as I stated above, yes you can replace the 1%’ers with what ever you want, but guess what, you’ll have empty seats at those prices and wave bye bye to that TV deal too. You seem to think its ok for the league to grow revenues but the players should not get raises as revenues increase. So in your eyes you believe that the league should get 2012 money while the players make 1985 salaries, right?? Yup, seems fair to me! (dripping with sarcasm, i’m stating that since you probably missed it!)

  23. bills4 - Nov 10, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    The fact hockey is below golf and college football should show you where hockey stand in the US. The players should wake up and realize their true importance in the sporting world.

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