Speaking by phone from Barcelona after convening with nearly 40 players, NHL Players’ Association director Donald Fehr told Rusty Miller of The Seattle Times he believes despite the current CBA expiring in less than six week that there’s plenty of time to strike a new deal.
“I don’t think time’s running out yet,” NHLPA executive director Don Fehr said by phone Monday from Barcelona, Spain, where he met with about 40 players. “I still think if the parties are dedicated to it, there’s sufficient time to reach an agreement.”
Fehr also holds firm to the stance the union and its players are willing to play under the current CBA should negotiations run past September 15 in order to maintain the sport.
“There’s no law that says you have to lock out,” Fehr said. “If both parties are both really interested in trying to reach an agreement, and if we both really care what the people watching hockey games think, then we ought to be doing everything we can to avoid that eventuality.”
- The ball is in your court, Mr. Bettman. Yes, the NHLPA hasn’t submitted a counteroffer yet, but are methodically going about the process. The owners are the ones who need to show more flexibility here and not that they just want a bigger slice of the revenue pie.
Lynn DeBruin of the Montreal-Gazette has a spirit-filled quote from Buffalo Sabre goalie Ryan Miller, speaking on the uncertainty of the new CBA and what it means for the sport and its fans.
“The last thing (we) need to do is have some kind of a work stoppage, because we’ve made great strides with the positive spin hockey’s had,” Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller said. “I think the years coming out of the (2004-05) lockout, we got a lot of the fan base back, a lot of positive energy. Mix that with the Olympics here in North America, a couple of good playoffs, and we have a fan base that’s loyal and, honestly, the best sports fans out of any sport.
“We can’t alienate them. This is up to the NHL and the NHLPA to just get it right.”
- Have to admire Miller’s passion, but he’s also 100% correct. I stand by my argument another lockout would severely cripple the NHL and certainly take itself out of the “Top 4″ of major pro sports in America. It’s taken tremendous work for hockey to regain its popularity and profitability after the 04-05 lockout, meaning this new CBA needs to be handled delicately, promptly and most importantly, properly. If only Gary Bettman and the NHL owners shared the same passion as Ryan Miller.