Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 08/06/12 at 08:43 PM ET
Updated at 9:43 PM: from Chris Johnston of the CP at the Winnipeg Free Press,
Donald Fehr nearly has all his ducks in a row.
The globe-trotting head of the NHL Players’ Association is just about ready to counter the league’s initial proposal for a new collective bargaining agreement.
He’s likely to make at least part of his pitch during the scheduled talks in New York this week, Fehr told The Canadian Press on Monday.
“I think that there’s certainly a possibility — a reasonable one — that we’ll be in a position to make some further response,” Fehr said in an interview. “Whether we’ll be in a position to make an alternative proposal yet I don’t know.”
Update from George: Fehr and NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly also spoke to the Associated Press about the clock ticking down to September 15th as negotiations continue:
“I don’t think time’s running out yet,” Fehr said by phone Monday from Barcelona, where he met with about 40 NHL players. “I still think if the parties are dedicated to it, there’s sufficient time to reach an agreement.”
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly concurred.
“While time is getting shorter, we continue to feel there is sufficient time to reach a deal before Sept. 15,” Daly wrote in an email to The Associated Press.
What’s unclear is what happens after that deadline passes, and concerns that the NHL could impose a lockout, which is something Fehr doesn’t favor.
“There’s no law that says you have to lock out,” Fehr said. “If both parties are both really interested in trying to reach an agreement, and if we both really care what the people watching hockey games think, then we ought to be doing everything we can to avoid that eventuality. And that includes not short-circuiting the process.”
Fehr has already proposed having talks continue beyond the deadline and having the season open without disruption under the current system. Daly declined to discuss the NHL’s plans if an agreement is not reached by mid-September.
“We will deal with the Players’ Association on the issue of ‘what then?’ if we don’t (reach a deal),” Daly wrote in an e-mail. “Not prepared to debate that point publicly right now.”
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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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