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NHL Lockout 2012: Sound and Fury Are Nothing New to Don Fehr

By December 7, 2012

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Chuck Kobasew, Steve Sullivan, and Sidney Crosby during a players' workout, December 3, 2012.

You could almost hear Gary Bettman's teeth grinding as he faced the microphones.

Donald Fehr is getting to him.

How else to interpret the seething press briefing on Thursday night, as the NHL commissioner declared another breakdown in talks to end the NHL lockout?

Among other things, Bettman accused the NHLPA excecutive director of "spinning us all into an emotional frenzy."

He added that the NHLPA's "shockingly silent" response to the league's latest and most generous offer left team owners "beside themselves."

Fehr's bob-and-weave tactics - we're never sure exactly what the PA is up to - are also frustrating to fans and an exhausted media herd.

But so far, it's gotten results.

Throughout this lockout, Bettman and the NHL owners have tried to insist that their latest proposal is the limit. They won't give another inch.

But the offers have been getting better.

This week's revised offer included concessions that were supposedly impossible a couple of weeks ago.

Fehr and the players apparently believe they can do better still, once they wait out all the abuse hurled their way.

Keep in mind that the NHLPA has been on the back foot throughout this process.

Whenever and however the lockout ends, the players will be left with less than they had before.

Fehr's job is to minimize the damage.

Though it's not without risks - media reports suggest heated discussions and disagreements within the NHLPA membership - the Fehr method has managed to nudge the players' agenda forward.


Photo: Chuck Kobasew, Steve Sullivan, and Sidney Crosby (L-R) show their NHLPA colors during a workout earlier this week (Christian Petersen/Getty Images).


December 7, 2012 at 10:34 am
(1) Joepuckster says:

FIRE BETTMAN t-shirts and more at:


This is the third lockout under his reign!!!

December 7, 2012 at 2:05 pm
(2) Tom d says:

This is a matter of big egos getting in the way. It’s one group of narcacist against another. Those who are paying the price are those who work in related industries, those who work for the teams and the third and fourth line players. We the fans are frustrated, but in no way does this lockout impact us as it does these. I hope that the players and owners will come to some mutual agreement that will allow hockey to return, but not for me, but for those who need the game as a means of economic survival

December 8, 2012 at 6:05 am
(3) Jerome says:

I’m of the belief that the best way to conclude negotiations is to set deadlines.
Let’s assume that an agreement will be reached and a reduced schedule begins mid January.
A stipulation in the new agreement would be that, at the end of the agreement, (immediately following the last game of the Stanley Cup final) a deadline of September 30th. is set to reach a new agreement before the next season starts.
That would certainly eliminate the “drop dead” dates commentators throw around.

December 12, 2012 at 4:06 pm
(4) John Lake says:

Fehr does get results.
Just ask the Expos.

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