from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
With the lockout on the verge of entering its third month, the Fehr Factor has entered negotiations in a big way. That much has become crystal clear with the NHL’s rising level of frustration in recent days. Negotiating with someone as intelligent and canny as Donald Fehr is difficult at the best of times. The NHL is finding out that when it comes to tactics, one of Fehr’s is to push the buttons of the guys on the other side of the table.
What the league is seeing is Fehr at his absolute best. Several times, he has delayed bargaining sessions with the league. He will occasionally “forget” his notes and get up and leave the table in the middle of an important discussion. This might give him the aura of an absent-minded professor, but chances are it’s all an orchestrated effort designed to frustrate. And by all accounts, it has been a smashing success of late.
And who can blame Fehr for doing that at this point? Are Fehr’s negotiating tactics any more counterproductive to the process than the NHL opening talks with an initial offer that could only be described as laughable? Is it any worse than taking a quick look at a counterproposal and summarily dismissing it within 10 minutes, the way the NHL did in mid-October when the two sides seemed to be gaining some traction?