Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Talking Donald Fehr

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

The day after news broke that Donald Fehr was poised to become the new executive director of the NHL players association, just about all the message boards agreed: Armageddon is just around the corner.

Fehr oversaw major league baseball’s players association for 26 years, a period of time characterized by a major steroid scandal and a series of contentious negotiations with the owners over the collective bargaining agreement.

If Fehr brings his confrontational style to the NHLPA, could another work stoppage be on the horizon, just five years after the NHL lost the 2004-05 season as a result of a labor dispute?

According to NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way.

continued

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

Comments

redxblack's avatar

It’s about time the PA had someone with giant balls. They’ve been so dysfunctional for so long.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 08/26/10 at 03:12 PM ET

SYF's avatar

It’s about time the PA had someone with giant balls.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 08/26/10 at 01:12 PM ET

+19.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 08/26/10 at 03:41 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

Duhatschek’s implications show that he does not know enough about baseball to be judging Donald Fehr.

Yes, Fehr led the players in an ugly work stoppage, but he was also instrumental in preventing MORE work stoppages.

People paint Fehr and the players in 1994/1995 as the villains, but they don’t understand the conditions that led the players and union to do what they did.

For literally 100+ years, owners of NL and AL teams had colluded against players. For most of that, it worked to the point where players were paid very little compared to the revenue they were responsible for generating.

When Koufax and Drysdale returned the favor, it opened a door for players to start earning the money they really deserved. It also upset the owners because it was collusion. But in turn, the owners were in a position where they could no longer collude against the players either. But, they went ahead and did it anyways.

The strike was a very shitty, but arguably a necessary evil. Even once the players earned the right to free agency, the owners were still colluding against them. The first few major waves of free agency followed this pattern, and there are legal disputes backing them up.

I’m not arguing that MLB players are over/underpaid. I think it’s clear as day that today, they are overpaid. But if you understand the history of baseball, it is hard to paint Donald Fehr or the MLBPA as bad guys.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 08/26/10 at 04:02 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Mark Spector of Sportsnet with his view on Fehr.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 08/26/10 at 04:31 PM ET

Avatar

I’m not arguing that MLB players are over/underpaid. I think it’s clear as day that today, they are overpaid. But if you understand the history of baseball, it is hard to paint Donald Fehr or the MLBPA as bad guys.

The ‘problem’ with Fehr is that he was always more about protecting anything and everything regarding the players than he was about ever helping the sport… something which also could have helped his players.

Just look at how horrendously he handled the burgeoning steroid era, where he tried to make steroid tests and steroid punishments something that needed to be collectively bargained, and only finally backed down once the idea of the Union getting investigated by Congress came to the forefront.

Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait to see Fehr completely wreck any number of Bettman’s weekends… but considering the pride and stupidity both guys have shown in the past by having each in these positions we’re essentially opening the door, throwing in 10 sticks of dynamite and a big flaming torch, and then running for our lives.

The explosion will be gloriously enjoyable.  Cleaning up the huge crater where the NHL used to be might not be as much fun.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 08/26/10 at 04:46 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Scott Burnside of ESPN with his take.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 08/26/10 at 05:09 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

The ‘problem’ with Fehr is that he was always more about protecting anything and everything regarding the players than he was about ever helping the sport… something which also could have helped his players.

Just look at how horrendously he handled the burgeoning steroid era, where he tried to make steroid tests and steroid punishments something that needed to be collectively bargained, and only finally backed down once the idea of the Union getting investigated by Congress came to the forefront.

I agree, that in hindsight, Fehr would’ve better helped his players by going against their initial wishes. But you have to remember—Fehr’s job is to work for the players, not the other way around. Obviously, the membership will give their elected leader some rope, but as we have seen with the NHLPA, a few closed-door meetings among a few powerful players is all it takes to oust that elected leader.

Specific to steroids—the blame goes everywhere. I don’t absolve Fehr from all blame, but again, he worked for the players. And besides, only revisionist history says that MLB was fighting the MLBPA on the steroid issue. The real history—meaning the actions (or inactions) of coaches, managers, general managers, team execs, and owners—shows that MLB and the PA alike both wanted to ignore the steroid issue.

I guess my ultimate point is this—whether you like Fehr or not, there’s no doubt that he’s smart, and there’s no doubt that he has a track record that shows he can organize a union and get things done. Despite the strike, Fehr was instrumental in avoiding similar fates on more than one occasion. And given that unlike the ballplayers of the early ‘90s, hockey players absolutely positively do NOT want a strike. So I expect Fehr’s savvy and experience to actually help the next CBA be more amenable to players and owners alike… at least insofar as reaching a conclusion without losing games and preventing one side from getting reamed in the deal.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 08/26/10 at 05:29 PM ET

Leafsfan 4life's avatar

Is this a Red Wings blog? I was under the impression that it was more of a NHL site that talked about all the teams.

Posted by Leafsfan 4life from North America on 08/26/10 at 06:41 PM ET

Avatar

The small markets officially have no say in the next CBA. it’s Fehr vs Bettman and Big Markets.

Posted by FlyersFan on 08/26/10 at 06:47 PM ET

Leafsfan 4life's avatar

Can anyone see my profile photo? If not how do you load it?

Posted by Leafsfan 4life from North America on 08/26/10 at 06:49 PM ET

Paul's avatar

You are good Leafsfan.  Nice bag.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 08/26/10 at 06:51 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Jim Kelley at Sports Illustrated says Fehr is the right choice.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 08/26/10 at 06:55 PM ET

Leafsfan 4life's avatar

Are you able to see the picture of the guy with the leafs bag? I tried to put it as the avatar but I can not see anyone’s picture. I cant see mine either. Is there something in the settings that Im supposed to click?

Posted by Leafsfan 4life from North America on 08/26/10 at 07:08 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Bruce Arthur of the National Post on the impact Fehr would have.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 08/26/10 at 07:10 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Leafsan, try clearing your cookies and cache or check your anti-virus, which may be blocking a few things.

Yes, I see the avatar, you might want to try to sign out then back in too.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 08/26/10 at 07:11 PM ET

Leafsfan 4life's avatar

Yeah Thanks I’m the only Maple in my family. All my brothers and sisters are huge Habs. They were upset about trading Jaroslav Halak, but I told them it was a good move. These are some rough times being a leafs fan though. I’m optimistic about 2010, our team has a new look. The Leafs, Habs , Wings and Flames are my favorite teams.

I see that nobody really uses the chat room in this site. I wasn’t sure whether it is a Red Wings site or universal NHL.

Posted by Leafsfan 4life from North America on 08/26/10 at 07:16 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Welcome to KK Leafsfan.  Yes, the chat room is going away very soon.

You will see new blogs popping up in the near future so stay tuned.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 08/26/10 at 07:18 PM ET

Leafsfan 4life's avatar

Great. Forgive me, What does clearing cookies and cache mean? I’ll try to log out and in thanks.

Posted by Leafsfan 4life from North America on 08/26/10 at 07:19 PM ET

Avatar

I agree, that in hindsight, Fehr would’ve better helped his players by going against their initial wishes. But you have to remember—Fehr’s job is to work for the players, not the other way around.

I agree with that.  However, I think one can make a fairly rational case that by working so stridently in the players defense on every single issue Fehr lost sight of the larger picture, an inability to see the forest for the trees sort of thing, and as a result ended up hurting his entire clientèle rather significantly.

No, he’s not solely responsible for all of the ills which befell MLB, but he was certainly a critical enabler whose consistent and strident ‘advocacy’ created an environment in which things very damaging to his players could occur.

And, again, I’m looking forward to him bringing exactly that kind of tough advocacy to the NHL… I’m just not 100% sure we, as fans, are going to be best served by it in the longer term.

In the short term?  Hell yeah, I hope he smacks Bettman down in the press Monday’s and Thursdays.  Can’t wait.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 08/26/10 at 07:35 PM ET

Leafsfan 4life's avatar

I have did something wrong with the settings. I cant view my picture or any other members avatar pictures. If anyone has any idea how to fix it please let me know. I was able to see them for about ten minutes when I started my account. Then I messed it up. Thanks for any suggestions.

Posted by Leafsfan 4life from North America on 08/26/10 at 10:02 PM ET

Leafsfan 4life's avatar

Nevermind. I logged in on a different computer. I still have no idea what I did though.

Posted by Leafsfan 4life from North America on 08/26/10 at 10:09 PM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.

Smileys

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Feed

Most Recent Blog Posts

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

 

image

image

image