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Category: NHLPA

What You See Is What You Get With Donald Fehr

from Jeff Z. Klein of the New York Times,

Last week was a dismal one for Donald Fehr and the N.H.L. Players’ Association, and not just because the owners flatly rejected the union’s offer to settle the N.H.L. lockout. For the first time since negotiations began last summer, public opinion seemed to have shifted: many fans, who had been blaming Commissioner Gary Bettman and the owners for the impasse, started to blame Fehr and the players.

Yet none of that is likely to sway Fehr, perhaps North America’s most effective union leader over the past three decades. He has drawn fans’ wrath before, but his accomplishments are enormous. As head of the Major League Baseball Players Association from 1983 to 2009, Fehr thwarted efforts to impose a salary cap and kept players’ salaries high. In three years with the N.H.L. Players’ Association, he repaired a hopelessly fractured union and readied it for confrontation with the owners.

Players understand that this is something in which they all have to hang together,” Fehr said. “You can paraphrase Benjamin Franklin: if we don’t hang together, we’re going to hang separately.”

Fehr is something of an anachronism: an ardent trade unionist in an era when the power of unions outside of sports is shrinking.

continued

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  Tags: donald+fehr

Down To Crunch Time For The NHL

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

And so it comes down to this: a week, maybe less, to not just save a season but a game's reputation; to save the reputation of its players and owners and to disprove the widely held notion -- one that grows by the day -- that hockey will just never get it right.

Less than a week to prove that hockey isn't the crazy, drooling uncle of sport that deserves to be locked in the attic.

If commissioner Gary Bettman is to be believed, a full 82-game schedule can still be saved if the NHL and its players can get a deal done by Oct. 25.

We're guessing there is wiggle room there, that if there is significant progress made toward resolving this dispute over the next few days, that the deadline could be pushed a little.

continued

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It’s Just Not About Ego, Greed And Incompetence

from Forbes,

This is a guest post by Deepak Malhotra, a professor at Harvard Business School, where he teaches negotiation.  

National Hockey League fans are understandably upset by yet another dispute between owners and players.  The growing frustration with labor relations in professional sports stems from the perception that the conflicts in the NHL (and last year in the NFL and NBA) are due to an ugly combination of ego, greed, and incompetence. Why else would “millionaires and billionaires” be having such a hard time sharing billions of dollars in revenue?  Unfortunately, it’s more complicated than that.

If we want to chart the right course towards agreement, it is important to understand why even smart and well-intentioned parties may have a hard time negotiating seemingly straightforward deals – especially in the context of sports.  Consider the following:

Only one side really knows how much money is up for grabs.

Say $100 is on the table, and you want your fair share of $50. But the other side is stubbornly demanding no less than $90. They seem greedy.  But what if you’re the only one who can see there is only $100 available, while the other side believes that the total is $200? Are they greedy?

continued

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Would You Expect Anything Else From Bettman?

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post, 

Understand this. Gary Bettman is huffing, puffing and threatening to blow all of the NHL houses down over a difference of about $3 million per team per season over the life of the six-year CBA proposal offered on Thursday by the NHLPA.

This is the language spoken by the NHL commissioner not only to the players, 18 of whom he treated with disdain and disrespect while they shared a room with him in Toronto, but to the owners.

He is telling the Rangers they can’t open the doors to the transformed money-printing Garden because of $3 million season — at most, given the negotiable nature of the NHLPA’s “50-50” proposal and the prospect of annual revenue growth well beyond the league’s conservative five-percent projections.

He is telling the Predators — who already have paid Shea Weber $13 million for this season on a signing bonus — they can’t begin to collect gate receipts or enhanced revenue sharing dollars as proposed by the union.

continued

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All Ovechkin

As can be the case at times, the Russian language can be hard to translate but I think you will get most of the conversation...

from Sport Express,

- Kovalchuk said NHL commissioner Gary Bettmen - a man who loves to show off, right?

- Of course. All heads of leagues in which there is a struggle between the club owners and the union want to distance ourselves from the conflict and associated backlash and pressure from the outside. But when you go to the press and said that the proposal is great, you need to understand - what you say. Who is it good? For Bettmena? Or for club bosses? When you give a new offer, it must involve some movement forward. But now there is no movement forward.

- What do you think the players are ready to make concessions?

- I do not understand with a fright, we have to agree to reduce the already signed contracts, which the owners themselves, and we were given. And even in this mezhseozne. The same Parise, Webber, Suter. Who are we kidding? It turns themselves. That's why the lockout and on.

- Do you think that if much will cut contracts, NHL players will be able to remain purely legal in Russia?

- I think it is possible. We have signed some contracts that are now going to be cut.

more (translated)

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  Tags: alex+ovechkin, khl

All Donald Fehr

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

Twenty-four hours after the latest breakdown in talks between the NHL and the players union, NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr explained to QMI Agency why it might be a long lockout....

Here is an edited transcript of Fehr's discussion:

QMI: Did Gary Bettman tell you the last offer Tuesday was take-it-or-leave-it?

FEHR: "All I can tell you is that my sense in the meeting (Thursday): They reviewed our proposals. It took them 12 or 15 minutes, said they rejected them, said their offer on Tuesday was their very best offer and that outside of what he called 'minor tweaks' that was it. He said this in front of 19 players. When I said, 'So, a tweak means something small and insubstantial' or words to that effect, he said 'Yes.' That's sort of the way it ends. Except Gary said at the end of the meeting if the players were prepared to accept their offer in its entirety, minor tweaks, I could call him about the 'make whole' provision which has players paying players for the reduced salaries in the first two years. I just have to go on the basis of what I heard."

QMI: Were you upset the league took your proposals, looked at them for 12-to-15 minutes and dismissed them?

FEHR: "I don't get upset. I don't get excited. It's just another indication that this is going to be fairly long road."

more

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Waiting For The Next Move

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

The gap of between $600 million to $650 million between the NHLPA and NHL as represented by the union’s “50/50” offer on Thursday was unaddressed yesterday as the 34th day of the lockout came and went without formal interaction between the parties.

The NHL — which all but stormed out of Thursday’s session in Toronto over what amounts to a difference of approximately 3 percent of hockey-related revenue allocation over the league’s proposed collective bargaining agreement’s six-year term — did, however, announce cancelation of games through Nov. 1.

 

That was a response to the calendar, not to the players association. The league, which has established an Oct. 25 deadline for reaching agreement on a CBA in order that a full 82-game season can be played beginning Nov. 2, had previously canceled games through Oct. 24.

continued

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The NHLPA Proposals

from TSN,

A day after talks broke off between the National Hockey League and the Players' Association, NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr sent a memo to the players outlining the three proposals that the union made.

The following is an excerpt of the memo sent out on Friday.

Brief summary of the three core-economic proposals we made yesterday. Each has the players' share declining over the life of the agreement. Each of the proposals has substantial cost reductions – lower player salaries – that would be realized by the owners. However, we maintained our position that given the concessions made by the players in the last agreement, and the 7 years of record revenue which followed, there is no reason for the absolute amount of the players' share to be reduced.

continued

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Evening Line

When this is done, NHL players will have the best deal possible, and a more educated, involved players association with professional self-governance. That’s all Donald Fehr cares about. It’s all he should care about.

-Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail where you can read more on Donald Fehr.

Filed in: NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: donald+fehr

A Deal Can Be Made

from Darren Dreger of TSN,

Both the National Hockey League and the players left Thursday's discussions feeling jilted.

The players were upset because the league took only minutes to consider their three alternative proposals, while the NHL was bent out of shape because the union didn't embrace the offer made by the owners on Tuesday.

And the temperature in these negotiations has risen.

But that's part of the process.

Both sides believe there is a deal to be made. Some on the union's side predict a resolution sometime in November, while the NHL remains firm that Oct. 25 is its breaking point in maintaining an 82-game regular season.

continued

added 6:40pm,

from Stu Hackel of the Red Light,

At a certain point in this process of the NHL arriving at a new collective bargaining agreement, a big chunk of fans have gotten to the point where they’ve just thrown up their hands and said, “I’ve had enough.” The claims and counterclaims, the blizzard of statistics and dollar figures, the same arguments over and over again, the threats and the responses, and the perceived lack of progress all becomes too much. And this week, just when it appeared that there might be some hope of a settlement, the floor dropped out beneath us again and now there is news of more games being axed. No one can be blamed for wanting to get off this roller coaster and let it ride on without them.

And yet…and yet…perhaps there is some light amidst the darkness.

more

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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