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Bill Daly explains the Fehr-in-the-room hissy fit via a hissy fit; Hainsey clarifies the situation

I know that this evening's events have polarized fans somewhat, but Ron Hainsey offers an answer to Mr. Deep Inside's concern about Donald Fehr being the problem for the players. It sounds like Fearing Fehr is instead a divisive issue among the NHL's non-negotiators instead. Fehr's mere presence apparently injected a, "Screw it, we'll take our toys and go home" mentality into the owners engaged in those lovely little small-group discussions, as NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told TSN's Ryan Rishaug:

Update: Here's Hainsey's side of the story, via the Sporting News's Jesse Spector:

Things were going swimmingly on Wednesday night. A few details needed to be hammered out, but the players felt confident with where talks were headed—confident enough that they suggested federal mediators return to help ‘polish this off,”as Hainsey said.

The owners declined.

"As confident as some of players are on their issues, we cannot close deals. I'd love to think I could,” Hainsey said, “We cannot."

Steve Fehr was there, but the job of closing the deal belongs to Donald Fehr. He is the executive director of the NHLPA, after all.

"Once we made clear that ... we had to get our union leadership, that we've hired for this, in the room, there was just a very big change," Hainsey said on Thursday, after talks broke down. "It was alarming, and I was told that if we were going to do that, it was possibly a dealbreaker. That was made clear last night. It was confusing, because we kind of agreed that we were moving toward each other, and we weren't that far apart. So, it's confusing for the players to think that we were supposed to finish this ourselves."

Hainsey was then asked to confirm, point blank, what he had just said: The owners told you that bringing Don Fehr into the room would be a dealbreaker for the progress you had achieved?

"That's correct," Hainsey said.

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J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I’m trying to imagine a situation in which NHL leadership would take such a hard-line tactic against letting the leader of the union finish off a deal they had worked towards.

Oh yeah, that’s right. They’ve been trying to discredit him to break the union just like they did with the last union chief.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/06/12 at 11:38 PM ET


If the NHL can negotiate without Bettman, then why can’t the player negotiate without Feh?. Everyone states that Bettman runs the show and is a dictator. Funny when push comes to shove Fehr has to scurry in to stave off agreement.

Posted by timbits on 12/06/12 at 11:41 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

From what Hainsey says, he was there to finish off an agreement.  If the NHL wants to do Bettman’s job without Bettman, then great!  It’s a room full of businessmen and lawyers finishing a document written by businessmen and lawyers.

The players wanted to bring in counsel and that was seen as an insult by the owners.  That doesn’t seem like good faith negotiating to me.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/06/12 at 11:54 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

This is the owners trying to bust the union and screw the players. If they signed anything without legal council looking it over, they would be the meatheads the league seems to think they are.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 12/07/12 at 12:15 AM ET

Chet's avatar

timbits, you’re laughable. if you needed to finalize a settlement in a lawsuit you had and you’d hired a lawyer to handle the lawsuit, how could you think it fair if the other side’s lawyer could review the settlement but yours could not? that’s just goddamn nonsense.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 12/07/12 at 02:10 AM ET

Chet's avatar

holmstrom just texted me,  timbits. said to threaten you.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 12/07/12 at 06:19 AM ET

Chet's avatar

i won’t do it, though. not dignified.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 12/07/12 at 06:21 AM ET


I love it when a room full of laywers says no more lawyers.  With all of the criticism of NHLPA players taking away jobs in Europe, why would lawyers want to rob the livelihood of one of their own?

The NHL is more concerned with discrediting Fehr than making a deal. If the deal was fair and proper, let everyone read it and ratify it. Only a thief hides in the night. I noticed few comments on the NHLPAs counter proposal. I guess it is esaier to swallow the owner PR then have to struggle with the facts.

All along the Bettman has been telling us no negotiating in public. Those 4 childish attempts at PR wasn’t a sign that they want to negotiate in public? Were the Pens not the ones who have been trying to circumvent this process for weeks talking to Sidney without NHLPA representation?

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 12/07/12 at 09:42 AM ET


If the NHL can negotiate without Bettman, then why can’t the player negotiate without Feh?.

This would be hilarious if there was even a chance in hell that you’re seriously asking that question…

Posted by Garth on 12/07/12 at 10:31 AM ET

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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.

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