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article imageOp-Ed: Donald Fehr statements suggest NHL gone for a long, long time

By Marcus Hondro     Sep 22, 2012 in Sports
It is unlikely the NHL, like the dodo bird or the skate save, is gone forever, but there are signs it is gone for a long time. Remarks by NHLPA head Donald Fehr Friday suggest just that. With the league now dormant, he continues to play games.
"I hope it will be sometime next week," Fehr told TSN radio's Hustler and Lawless show on Friday afternoon, referring to when negotiations might restart. "We're waiting for them to be in a position to do that. It's up to them."
Fehr doesn't offer new counter-proposal
Fehr's remarks are bafflegab, designed to put the NHLPA in a good light and while he's trying to suggest he is willing to return to the table and negotiate with earnest, that's not the case. Saying "it's up to them" is perhaps the most deceptive thing he said in his entire talk with TSN. It's not really up to the league, the league tabled the last offer over a week ago.
The NHLPA boss also told his radio hosts that the NHL was busy with other things, a reference to the league working out shortened work weeks for office staff, possibly even having to lay some off; here Fehr is attempting to make it seem the league hasn't time to negotiate. That the league would not return to negotiating if there was something to negotiate is nonsense. We're supposed to belief Bettman would rather lay off-staff than find ways of getting the league re-started and avoiding lay-offs altogether? So Bettman is now not only evil but also stupid?
CBA negotiations stalled
Look, obviously Fehr doesn't like where the NHL started negotiations, with owners taking 57% of hockey related revenue (HRR) and players 43, the reverse of how it stood in the last CBA, and he wants the league to move up by larger increments But conversely offers made by the players have moved up by even smaller increments and they've never made a logical argument as to why they deserve more revenue than the owners.
The NHLPA knows the NHL will not bargain with themselves and Bettman is on record as saying negotitaions will reconvene when the players make a counter-proposal. The fact Fehr isn't willing to adddress that, isn't willing to make that counter-proposal, and instead pretends he's willing to talk if only the league would find the time, is a clear indicator Donald Fehr is going to continue posturing and engaging in gamemanship.
And that is an even clearer indicator that this is going to last a very long time.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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