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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.”

continued

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.”

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Comments

Avatar

There is no way the owners don’t lock the players out if Sept. 15 comes and there is no deal. Opening the season with no deal gives the players the power as then they can threaten to strike towards the ends ofmthe season when they have collected most of their money threatening the playoffs where the owners make theirs (i.e. what the baseball players under Fher did in 94).

So negotiating tactics 101 tell us there will be a lockout if a deal isn’t reached

Posted by Jkrdevil on 08/07/12 at 01:03 AM ET

Avatar

Fehr’s a pretty great rhetorician, really nicely setting the owners up as the bad guys from the get-go.  Would have been a real pro in politics if he’d chosen that field, instead (maybe a Karl Rove type?).

Posted by nosferatu from Albany, NY on 08/07/12 at 02:24 AM ET

Primis's avatar

I’m concerned by the time slipping.  Why is it August already and we’re just NOW talking about the PA making their *first* proposal?

If there is a lockout, the players will be just as much to blame as the owners, because the players just sat around for a MONTH and did nothing.

This is why a stoppage seems inevitable to me:  Neither side seems to be interested in actually avoiding it.

Posted by Primis on 08/07/12 at 02:40 AM ET

Avatar

Primis,

I think the PA is sort of trying to call the league’s bluff; they’re stalling and not serious about the Sept. 15 deadline because they want another year under the current CBA and are holding out hope that the league won’t be able to pull the trigger on another lockout.

We’ll see about that.

Posted by nosferatu from Albany, NY on 08/07/12 at 04:06 AM ET

Alan's avatar

Fehr’s a pretty great rhetorician, really nicely setting the owners up as the bad guys from the get-go.

Last time I checked, the owners are the only ones who can put the locks on the doors. The season would not have started by that time, so the players can’t exactly call for a strike.

On the bright side, perhaps a lockout would finally be Bettman’s end. This will be his third lockout under his tenure.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 08/07/12 at 05:25 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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