Wednesday, November 21, 2012

..."Fehr, Brilliant...."

1) That's the exact quote we received from a very prominent NHL exec tonight with regard how the NHLPA head Donald Fehr handled today's latest negotiations with the NHL.  Specifically, just when it appeared the NHL had the association in a corner with their request for the union to put forth a detailed proposal, the NHLPA head reversed fortunes.  Many felt that the NHL request would force Fehr to show his cards sort of speak.  The opposite has transpired in a short 24 hours.  The league and specifically Gary Bettman are now in that proverbial corner after Fehr's adept PR coup today.

2) To recap, the players Association called the NHL's bluff with their retort today.  They portrayed their proposal as a concession laden document.  Leaking through the media that 'moderate' players demanded that they attempt to restart the talks by making those big concessions.  Basically telling the league that they better not simply walk away. Leaking the details to the media prior to the afternoon meetings.  Almost like they were daring the NHL/Bettman to dismiss this and get the backlash from fans, etc.

3) We're told that Bettman and Jacobs were fit to be tied as they awaited the NHLPA's arrival at the leagues offices today.  Knowing that they would be faced with an unenviable position of explaining to the media why they don't like the players' proposal.  So while most aspects of what the players proposed were not tremendously different in their totality, it was how it was framed PRIOR to the meeting that changed the tone/landscape under which it was released.  A hopeful public eager to place blame at any side showing unwillingness to negotiate.  Thus the owners have to come back (probably Monday)with a face saving response. Ultimately the players are probably going to have to give in further, but in the mean time 'The Fehr' can enjoy the Thanksgiving weekend.

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