Score Strip

  1. League: NHL
  2. Pittsburgh vs. Columbus
    7:00 PM
    1 PIT
    4 CLS
  3. Anaheim vs. Dallas
    8:00 PM
    1 ANH
    4 DAL
  4. St. Louis vs. Chicago
    9:30 PM
    2 STL
    3 CHI
  5. View All

Nothing to fear but Fehr himself

thehockeynews.com
Nothing to fear but Fehr himself
.

View photo

NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr is masterful at frustrating his opponents in collective bargaining …

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?

What people have to realize is Donald Fehr has one concern and one concern only, and that is to get the best deal for his constituents. The only problem is the best deal has quickly become the least-worst deal. As has been pointed out on a number of occasions, there is not a single area in the NHL’s demands that represents anything less than a concession on the part of the players. The NHL is standing firm in its demands, as it should. And the executive director of the NHL Players’ Association is digging in his heels, as he should.

And for those who think the players should simply cut the best deal they can get and get on with playing, consider for a moment what that would mean. The fact neither side of this dispute wants to wear the tag of loser has absolutely nothing to do with ego and everything to do with preserving the collective bargaining rights for future players. If the league is successful in getting everything it demands in these negotiations and the players cave just to get back to playing, what will stop it from making even more onerous demands the next time and the time after that?

“I know those guys, Shane Doan and all those guys,” says former NHLer Curtis Joseph. “They’re good guys. They’re good, smart human beings. If it’s not good for everybody, it must not be a great deal. The average career of a hockey player is five years. Do you think these guys want to give away 20 percent of their earnings? No way. None of them does.”

After months of playing the part of conciliator, Fehr is beginning to show his legendary teeth. And that’s probably not a good sign for anyone who hopes to see the NHL in action in the foreseeable future. The more the NHLPA rattles the league’s cage, the more emotional this dispute is going to become. If the players remain strong, they stand to lose an entire season worth of salaries. If they cave, they stand to lose their credibility and a lot of their leverage as a bargaining unit.

Neither one of those is particularly appealing for them. So they and their leader are doing the only thing they can do now. As Michael Cammalleri said early in this process, the players have already lost. But they will not go down without a fight.

ODDS AND ENDS

Still with Curtis Joseph, he’s clearly among those who believe that if the NHL is concerned with revenues, it has to get teams into places where fans will create wealth for the league. “My beef would be, ‘Listen, put another team in Ontario,’ ” he says. “Are you kidding me? Turn that $50 million loss into a win. Why don’t you do that. Talk to me about that. That’s what I would say.”… Organizers at the Sportcard and Memorabilia Expo in Toronto report attendance was down 30 percent this past weekend because of the NHL lockout…The Brampton Battalion is on its way out and the Mississauga Steelheads cannot be far behind. Case in point was last Friday night. The Steelheads went into their game against a division rival with an 11-5-1 record and drew an announced crowd of 2,144 that looked a lot smaller than that. Two days later for a Sunday afternoon game, they had an announced throng of 1,614. The total of 3,758 would be a decent crowd for one game for most junior teams, but for two games during a season when there’s no NHL hockey, it’s pathetic. Steelheads ownership has given the franchise three seasons to turn things around and there is absolutely no evidence anything like that will happen…It's clear there is simply too much fighting in car racing. As a matter of fact, there have been more bench-clearing brawls in NASCAR this season than in the NHL.
 

Ken Campbell is the senior writer for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com with his column. To read more from Ken and THN's other stable of experts, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

View Comments
  • Phelps ditches one of his planned comeback events

    Phelps ditches one of his planned comeback events

    By Julian Linden PHOENIX (Reuters) - Michael Phelps has withdrawn from one of the three events he planned to compete in at his eagerly-anticipated return to competitive swimming. Phelps had entered the heats for the 50 meters freestyle, 100m … More »

    Reuters - 11 minutes ago
  • Swimming-Phelps ditches one of his planned comeback events

    By Julian Linden PHOENIX, April 23 (Reuters) - Michael Phelps has withdrawn from one of the three events he planned to compete in at his eagerly-anticipated return to competitive swimming. Phelps had entered the heats for the 50 metres freestyle, … More »

    Reuters - 16 minutes ago
  • Kvitova beaten in 1st major upset at Stuttgart

    Kvitova beaten in 1st major upset at Stuttgart

    STUTTGART, Germany (AP) -- Alisa Kleybanova defeated third-seeded Petra Kvitova 6-2, 7-6 (3) to provide the first major upset at the Porsche Grand Prix on Wednesday. … More »

    AP - Sports - 16 minutes ago
  • NCAA puts Wisconsin college on probation over aid

    The NCAA placed Wisconsin-River Falls on probation for one year Wednesday, saying the Division III school failed to monitor the scholarship process and allowed a former head football coach to be involved in arranging financial aid packages. The … More »

    AP - Sports - 18 minutes ago
  • Cubs lose to Diamondbacks 7-5 on Wrigley's 100th

    Cubs lose to Diamondbacks 7-5 on Wrigley's 100th

    Fittingly, the Chicago Cubs marked Wrigley Field's 100th birthday with a loss - a dramatic, error-filled one, at that. One out from victory, the Cubs allowed the Arizona Diamondbacks to rally for five runs in the ninth inning in a 7-5 loss … More »

    AP - Sports - 20 minutes ago
  • Emmert supports more efficient, effective NCAA

    Mark Emmert wants the NCAA to fast-track upgrades for college athletes - regardless of whether a player union is pushing for them. One day before the board of directors meets in Indianapolis and two days before Northwestern football players are … More »

    AP - Sports - 20 minutes ago
  • Seattle signs Trufant, CB expected to retire

    The Seattle Seahawks have signed former cornerback Marcus Trufant, who is expected to announce his retirement from football. Seattle announced the signing Wednesday and said Trufant was expected to announce his intentions during a news conference … More »

    AP - Sports - 21 minutes ago
  • Clemson's Swinney won't change after complaint

    CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) -- Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said Wednesday he wouldn't change procedures after the Freedom From Religion Foundation's letter of complaint to the university expressing concerns about the football program's connection to the … More »

    AP - Sports - 22 minutes ago
  • Knicks looking for hometown discount from Anthony

    Knicks looking for hometown discount from Anthony

    Potential free agent Carmelo Anthony will be asked to give the New York Knicks a discount on his next contract in order to help build a title contender, team president Phil Jackson said on Wednesday. Anthony, who finished the 2013-14 NBA season … More »

    Reuters - 27 minutes ago
  • NBA-Knicks looking for hometown discount from Anthony

    Potential free agent Carmelo Anthony will be asked to give the New York Knicks a discount on his next contract in order to help build a title contender, team president Phil Jackson said on Wednesday. Anthony, who finished the 2013-14 NBA season … More »

    Reuters - 30 minutes ago
  • Royals coach has surgery on broken left arm

    Kansas City Royals first base coach Rusty Kuntz had surgery on his broken left arm, an injury he sustained when he was hit by a line drive during pregame batting practice. Kuntz had a plate and eight screws inserted during the operation Wednesday at … More »

    AP - Sports - 32 minutes ago
  • Rangers' Perez gets second straight SHO

    Rangers' Perez gets second straight SHO

    Martin Perez pitched his second consecutive shutout to extend his scoreless innings streak to 26 and the Texas Rangers wrapped up a three-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics with a 3-0 victory Wednesday. Donnie Murphy homered and Michael Choice … More »

    AP - Sports - 35 minutes ago
  • Party a century in the making for Wrigley Field

    Party a century in the making for Wrigley Field

    ''Happy Birthday, Wrigley Field,'' it read. Exactly 100 years after the Chicago Federals pounded the Kansas City Packers in the first game at the famed ballpark, Wrigley was the scene of a joyous birthday bash on Wednesday afternoon. Banks and … More »

    AP - Sports - 35 minutes ago
  • Francona: Salazar not tipping pitches

    Francona: Salazar not tipping pitches

    The Indians believe the only tipping Danny Salazar is doing is to cab drivers and waitresses. One night after Cleveland's struggling right-hander said he might be tipping his pitches, Indians manager Terry Francona said Salazar is just leaving too … More »

    AP - Sports - 35 minutes ago
  • Joakim Noah is suing his former shoemaker, claiming they failed to pay him and contributed to his foot injuries

    Joakim Noah is suing his former shoemaker, claiming they failed to pay him and contributed to his foot injuries

    Joakim Noah wore Le Coq Sportif from 2007-13. … More »

    Ball Don't Lie - 38 minutes ago
  • Selanne’s son tweets disapproval, suggests roster move for Boudreau

    Selanne’s son tweets disapproval, suggests roster move for Boudreau

    Part of growing up is making mistakes and learning from them. Just ask Eemil Selanne, son of Ducks forward Teemu Selanne. He is learning a very important lesson today: whatever you say on the internet is here forever. Not only … Continue reading → … More »

    Puck Daddy - 40 minutes ago
  • Bobcats F Jefferson to start vs. Heat

    Bobcats F Jefferson to start vs. Heat

    MIAMI (AP) -- Al Jefferson is in Charlotte's starting lineup for Game 2 of the Bobcats' Eastern Conference first-round series against the Miami Heat. … More »

    AP - Sports - 40 minutes ago
  • Oldest ex-Major League Baseball player dies in Cuba at 102

    Oldest ex-Major League Baseball player dies in Cuba at 102

    By Daniel Trotta HAVANA (Reuters) - Conrado Marrero, at 102 the oldest former Major League Baseball player and a patriarch of Cuban baseball known for his quick wit and goofy pitching delivery, died on Wednesday at his home in Havana. Marrero, who … More »

    Reuters - 44 minutes ago
  • Bills to issue store credits to end text claim

    The Buffalo Bills are going to pay up for oversharing. The team has reached a settlement with fans who say the team sent them too many texts, agreeing to issue debit cards for the Bills store worth $58 to $75 each. Along with the $2.5 million … More »

    AP - Sports - 53 minutes ago
  • Criminal charges considered after peewee hockey brawl in Winnipeg

    WINNIPEG - Criminal charges have been recommended following a peewee hockey brawl in Winnipeg, but police say they haven't decided if there will be any arrests. Jason Michalyshen said Wednesday that Crown prosecutors reviewed the case and suggested … More »

    The Canadian Press - 55 minutes ago
  • Tampa's Johnson, Palat up for Calder

    Tampa's Johnson, Palat up for Calder

    Tampa Bay Lightning forwards Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat are finalists for the NHL's top rookie award. They're joined by Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche in the running for the Calder Trophy. Johnson had a rookie team-record 24 goals … More »

    AP - Sports - 55 minutes ago
  • Death of Australian player weighs heavy on team

    Death of Australian player weighs heavy on team

    The locker where Chris Lane once got ready to play now sits empty on the campus of East Central University in Ada. He died less than a day before he was scheduled to return to East Central to start his senior season. … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 0 minutes ago
  • Sherman addresses race issue at Harvard

    CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) -- Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman says he refuses to back down from his raging rant after the NFC championship game because he wants to ''educate the uneducated.'' … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 1 minute ago
  • Mike Francesa may have just tipped the Giants' 2014 schedule

    Mike Francesa may have just tipped the Giants' 2014 schedule

    Did Mike Francesa just reveal the Giants' 2014 schedule? … More »

    Shutdown Corner - 1 hour 2 minutes ago
  • Seahawks QB Wilson divorcing from wife

    Seahawks QB Wilson divorcing from wife

    Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has announced that he and his wife Ashton are divorcing. Wilson made the announcement in a statement released by the Seahawks on Wednesday. He says decisions like this are not easy and respectfully asks … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 6 minutes ago
  • NCAA proposal for governance change

    Highlights from a proposal to change governance at the NCAA. The Division I Board of Directors is expected to discuss the plan Thursday: - The five biggest football conferences - the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC - would gain more autonomy … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 8 minutes ago
  • Klinsmann close to finalizing pre-World Cup roster

    Just three weeks remain before the start of the United States' pre-World Cup training camp, and coach Jurgen Klinsmann is close to finalizing the players he'll invite. Preliminary 30-man rosters are due to FIFA by May 13, the day before the … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 9 minutes ago
  • Mayweather preaches patience ahead of Maidana bout

    Mayweather preaches patience ahead of Maidana bout

    (Reuters) - Five-division world champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. says he will take his time and "be smart" when he faces Marcos Maidana of Argentina for their welterweight title unification in Las Vegas next week. Mayweather, who has a 45-0 record … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 10 minutes ago
  • Freestyle skiing pioneer Burke among new Canada's Sports Hall of Fame members

    Freestyle skiing pioneer Burke among new Canada's Sports Hall of Fame members

    Now, Sarah Burke's legacy will live on in Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. Burke, who tragically died at age 29 from a training accident in 2012, headlined the 2014 class named for induction Wednesday. "I think she'd be pretty overwhelmed, she'd be … More »

    The Canadian Press - 1 hour 10 minutes ago
  • Ishikawa refuses minors, now free agent

    PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Travis Ishikawa, the Pittsburgh Pirates' opening-day first baseman, refused an outright assignment to Triple-A Indianapolis and elected to become a free agent. … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 12 minutes ago
  • Phils activate P Hamels to face Dodgers

    LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Philadelphia Phillies have activated Cole Hamels from the disabled list to make his season debut against the Los Angeles Dodgers. … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 19 minutes ago
  • Russell Wilson, wife file for divorce after two years of marriage

    Russell Wilson, wife file for divorce after two years of marriage

    The Seattle quarterback has filed for divorce. … More »

    Shutdown Corner - 1 hour 19 minutes ago
  • The 10-man rotation, starring the Rockets' reserves and the potential folly of not using them

    The 10-man rotation, starring the Rockets' reserves and the potential folly of not using them

    A look around the league and the Web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out. … More »

    Ball Don't Lie - 1 hour 22 minutes ago
  • Oldest ex-MLB player Marrero dies at 102

    Oldest ex-MLB player Marrero dies at 102

    Conrado Marrero, the diminutive Cuban right-hander who pitched for the Washington Senators in the 1950s and in 2011 became the oldest living former Major League Baseball player, died in Havana on Wednesday. He wasn't reacting,'' Rogelio Marrero … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 24 minutes ago
  • Country star McGraw loves life in GT fast lane

    Tim McGraw drives in the carpool lane most days instead of pushing 100 mph with the windows rolled down and hair pulled back. ''I drive the Griswold family cruiser,'' McGraw said, laughing. So McGraw, a noted car enthusiast, traded his cowboy hat … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 24 minutes ago
  • Valcke 'happy' with Cuiaba stadium despite delays

    Valcke 'happy' with Cuiaba stadium despite delays

    FIFA's top World Cup official is satisfied with the pace of work at the stadium in the western Brazilian city of Cuiaba even though a delay in the delivery of seats prompted the venue's inauguration to be postponed this week. FIFA Secretary General … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 26 minutes ago
  • Kidd not worried about Pierce for Game 3

    Kidd not worried about Pierce for Game 3

    Jason Kidd never appears worries about anything, certainly not about someone like Paul Pierce. Even if Pierce's matchup was completely one-sided in Toronto's favor in Game 2. He couldn't get his shot to fall, couldn't keep his man off the boards, … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 28 minutes ago
  • Happy 100th, Wrigley Field! A few memories

    Happy 100th, Wrigley Field! A few memories

    Wrigley Field, the home of the Chicago Cubs, marks the 100th anniversary of its first game on Wednesday with a matchup against Arizona. Some stars who graced its friendly confines offer their memories: --- Mike Ditka has a question. Well, an … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 30 minutes ago
  • Wizards back home leading Bulls 2-0

    Wizards back home leading Bulls 2-0

    The Chicago Bulls failed to score for more than seven minutes. This was the final 3:53 of regulation and the first 3:45 of overtime in Game 2 of a playoff series. Chicago got to the postseason by being stingy. Yet, so far at least, the Washington … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 32 minutes ago
  • Bears, RB Draughn agree on 1-year deal

    LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) -- The Chicago Bears have agreed to a one-year contract with running back Shaun Draughn. … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 32 minutes ago