Monday, December 10, 2012

"Its All About Fehr"

1) Those are the precise words we got from an NHL insider over the weekend when we asked  'Why there isn't an agreement today?"  We don't have to delve deeply to read between the lines of that sentence. Simply put, the NHL doesn't want to give Donald Fehr any credit in getting a deal done.  As some astute writers have already said who also did some digging that a deal in principal should have been easy IF what both sides have told is accurate. That Ron Hainsey was told that 'bringing back Fehr into the negotiations is a 'deal breaker' is all one needs to know where this all stands.

2) Clearly (as we told our readers last week) the owners-players only meeting was all a show. An attempt to 'end around'  the Fehrs.  Get the players present feeling positive about things (having their home owners there was no coincidence!) then try to get them to sign off without their leader being part of the equation.  When that backfired we saw Bettman have a 'hissy fit'. However all those who we asked said it seemed awfully "staged". Bettman is losing it because Fehr doesn’t lose his head. So the commissioner is making a total ass of himself and a laughingstock of the NHL. He’s threatening to lose another entire season, when the NHL going into this lockout had already lost more games to labour disruptions than the three other major North American leagues combined!  It’s a game Bettman evidently can not win, because Fehr appears to be at least his equal. Fehr still has the players behind him as solidly as Bettman has the owners in his pocket. All the NHL’s 'end around' tactics, the tricks that worked so well against Bob Goodenow during the 2004-05 lockout, have failed.

3) Sooner or later, Bettman and the owners are going to have to deal with Fehr and to work out a partnership along the peaceful and profitable lines that Fehr helped to establish in Major League Baseball.  The problem is that Bettman and the hard-line owners aren’t looking for stability and labour peace, they want total capitulation. Simple as that! The problem with trying to vilify Fehr is that he has a track record.   Bud Selig and the owners of MLB learned the hard way that they couldn’t win, and that the best approach for everyone involved was to work with him, rather than trying to make him into the boogeyman. Bettman prefers this scorched-Earth approach. Show rage, threaten and then walk out of the room when you don’t get your way. This hasn’t worked and it isn’t going to work.This latest lockout is going to last as long as it takes Bettman to understand this fundamental truth. Get down to business,  and make a deal!

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