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Wait Mode

from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,

I don't know if the league underestimated NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr or just received horrible intel on him. But it did not recognize two very important things.

First, Fehr's idealogical beliefs are very strong. You may consider his CBA history lessons boring or irrelevant. But he doesn't. More importantly, he convinced the players how much it mattered and they rallied behind him.

There've been times during this process when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman's supporters have taken issue with my position that he has disrespected the players. That's fair comment and those people are correct to point out that the players, especially on Twitter, have disrespected him, too. But the fact is that some of the NHL's negotiating moves helped Fehr gain a greater buy-in. There is no doubt in my mind the vast majority of the players want to play. But some of Bettman's decisions accomplished the reverse, pushing the NHLPA in the opposite direction. It was counter-productive.

The second thing the NHL missed was Fehr's history of waiting until the last second to make deals. Whatever mistakes the league made in this process, it wanted to be playing by now. We've talked about the Proskauer Rose playbook and how this is all scripted by "the law firm that's ruining sports." But I really believe this has gone further than Bettman wanted it to, which is why he looks so frustrated. Now Fehr is controlling the tempo and has convinced his constituency that the owners will make final concessions at the end. A lot of players don't like how long this is taking yet they seem to believe that.

Hence, the NHL's change in strategy. It's going to wait.

more plus 30 Thoughts...

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



I’m not exactly sure what Friedman is attempting to say here.  I don’t think Fehr being pre-disposed to wait is either a surprise or a concern to the league, mostly because as the short year in 1995 and the lost season in 2005 and the current labor stoppage show… it’s not like the NHL is exactly averse to it, either.

As far as Bettman ‘disrespecting’ the players goes… who knows?  IMO the players started off hating the guy already, so there was pretty much no chance of them being anything but angry with him.

I guess I’m not following why Friedman thinks this isn’t proceeding pretty much exactly how the NHL thought it would.  I mean, did the ‘get paid even if there is no hockey in 2012’ clause just show up by accident in the leagues new deal with NBC or something?

As far as I can tell, the NHL absolutely knew what they wanted the next CBA to look like, they absolutely knew there was no way the PA would give it to them without a stoppage, and they absolutely knew it would be a long one and most likely a full seasons worth.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 12/19/12 at 01:26 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

Sadly Elliotte is making a fool of himself now too

Posted by Evilpens on 12/19/12 at 01:26 PM 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.

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.

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