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Report: Donald Fehr unimpressed with owners’ latest offer 10.17.12 at 3:55 pm ET
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According to a report from Bob McKenzie of TSN, NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr sent a less-than-enthusiastic letter to every player and agent following the league’s latest proposal on Tuesday. The letter, sent Tuesday night, credits the owners for improving on previous offers but notes it still costs the players money..

“Simply put, the owners’ new proposal, while not quite as Draconian as their previous proposals, still represents enormous reductions in player salaries and individual contracting rights,” he wrote. “As you will see, at the 5 per cent industry growth rate the owners predict, the salary reduction over six years exceeds $1.6 billion. What do the owners offer in return?”

Added Fehr: “The proposal does represent movement from their last negotiating position, but still represents very large, immediate and continuing concessions by players to owners, in salary and benefits (the Players’ Share) and in individual player contracting rules.”

Though the league’s latest proposal was initially viewed from the outside as a start to serious negotiations, Fehr wrote that he isn’t sure that’s the case.

“We do not yet know whether this proposal is a serious attempt to negotiate an agreement, or just another step down the road,” he wrote. “The next several days will be, in large part, an effort to discover the answer to that question.”

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NHLPA makes counteroffer to league 08.14.12 at 4:15 pm ET
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Exactly a month after the league made it’s first proposal in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement, the NHL Players’ Association finally submitted its counteroffer.

While commissioner Gary Bettman did not disclose the details of the NHLPA’s proposal, he did say that it was apparent that the players and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr had used the last month well.

“It’s clear to me (the NHLPA) didn’t put (the proposal) together in an hour or two,” Bettman told reporters.

According to reports, the counterproposal does include a willingness on the players’ part to get a smaller piece of the pie when it comes to hockey-related revenues. The league’s first proposal called for the players to give back 11 percent, which was perceived nationally as being unrealistic.

Thus far that’s the biggest detail to emerge regarding the counterproposal, and it seems that Fehr and the players are trying to come off as the more reasonable ones early on. The league’s first proposal also asked for a five-year limit on contracts and the end of salary arbitration, among other things.

The league’s current CBA will expire on Sept. 15. If a new CBA isn’t reached by then, there will almost surely be another lockout.

Read More: Donald Fehr, Gary Bettman,
Ugly CBA negotiations? The NHL? Get out of town 08.10.12 at 4:40 pm ET
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Talk of a lockout has already started for Gary Bettman and the NHL. (AP)

Negotiations for new collective bargaining agreements tend to get messy, and NHL CBA negotiations (at least recently), tend to result in lockouts. Unfortunately, the news is that there haven’t been any surprises thus far.

Earlier this week, NHL Players’ Association head Donald Fehr said that a counterproposal to the league’s first offer was forthcoming, with it later being determined that folks can expect it to be delivered next Tuesday. The counterproposal is highly anticipated, as the league’s first offer was shocking — it called for an 11-percent giveback of hockey-related revenue on the players’ part, the end of arbitration, and a five-year limit on contracts, among other stipulations. When the NHLPA asked for more financial particulars before countering, the league buried them with some 76,000 pages of documents from the various teams.

Games technically could have been played if a new agreement wasn’t reached by Sept. 15, the expiration of the current CBA, but on Thursday commissioner Gary Bettman crushed the dreams of any fans hoping for that.

“We reiterated to the union that the owners will not play another year under the current agreement,” Bettman told reporters Thursday. “I re-confirmed something that the union has been told multiple times over the last nine to 12 months. Namely, that the time is getting short and the owners are not prepared to operate under this collective bargaining agreement for another season so we need to get to making a deal and doing it soon. And we believe there’s ample time for the parties to get together and make a deal and that’s what we’re going to be working towards.”

The players didn’t exactly dig any of that chatter. Here’s Henrik Lundqvist‘s reaction, via twitter:

“The @NHL says they won’t play past Sept 15th under current deal. Apparently they don’t like the deal they designed. #CBA #nhlpa2012″

And Brandon Prust‘s:

“Disappointed the League is talking about a lockout before we even give our @NHLPA counterproposal”

The bottom line is that nothing — neither Bettman’s comments or players’ reactions — should be surprising. No CBA by Sept. 15 equals a lockout . The only thing learned thus far is that this will get messy. Unfortunately with the NHL, everyone should have already known that.

Read More: Brandon Prust, Donald Fehr, Gary Bettman, Henrik Lundqvist
NHLPA reportedly close to making counterproposal 08.07.12 at 2:41 pm ET
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Donald Fehr might be close to responding to the league's first CBA proposal. (AP)

According to Chris Johnson of the Canadian Press, NHL Players Association executive director Donald Fehr is close to making a counteroffer to the league nearly one month after the league made its initial proposal.

Eyebrows were raised last month when the league’s first offer asked for an 11-percent giveback on hockey-related revenue and a five-year limit on contracts, among other things, though the fact that it was the first proposal suggests the league was hardly adamant regarding its stipulations.

Since then, Fehr has requested further information from the league and was given around 76,000 pages of audited financial statements. The two sides will continue to meet this week in New York, and the NHLPA’s counteroffer will go a long way in telling just how far apart the two sides are and whether a lockout could be likely.

“I think that there’s certainly a possibility — a reasonable one — that we’ll be in a position to make some further response,” Fehr told the Canadian Press. “Whether we’ll be in a position to make an alternative proposal yet I don’t know.”

The current CBA is expected to expire on Sept. 15, and though the league could technically continue to play games without a new CBA, fans shouldn’t bank on such a scenario coming to fruition. The league’s last CBA negotiation will live in infamy, as it led to a lockout that resulted in the cancellation of the 2004-05 season.

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NHLPA appoints Donald Fehr as executive director 12.18.10 at 10:17 am ET
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The NHL Players Association announced Saturday morning that they have voted “overwhelmingly” in favor of appointing former MLBPA executive director Donald Fehr to the same position in the NHLPA.

Now 62, Fehr served as an advisor for the NHLPA last year. In his time as head of the MLBPA, he led them through the 1994-95 baseball strike, sued the owners for $280 million over collusion, and took rookie salaries from $30,000 to $400,000 over.

Here is the press release:

TORONTO, ON (December 18, 2010) – The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) announced today that the full membership of the NHLPA has voted overwhelmingly to appoint Don Fehr as the new NHLPA Executive Director, following the Executive Board’s endorsement.

Fehr, 62, is the former Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) where he worked for the players for 33 years, serving as Executive Director from 1983 until 2009.

“I am both humbled and honored by the expression of confidence that the players’ vote reflects,” said Don Fehr, NHLPA Executive Director. “I’m looking forward to working closely with the membership and the Executive Board.”

On September 8, 2010, the Search Committee, made up of Ryan Getzlaf, Jamie Langenbrunner, Brian Rafalski, Brian Rolston and Mathieu Schneider, recommended to the Executive Board that Fehr be hired as Executive Director. This was endorsed by the Executive Board which then directed the matter be put to a full vote of the NHLPA membership.

The NHLPA also announces today that the membership has voted overwhelmingly to accept amendments that were put forward by the Constitution Committee, consisting of Steve Montador, Dominic Moore, Tim Thomas and Marty Turco, and endorsed by the Executive Board.

These amendments add clarity to, and simplify, the new Constitution as well as the Association’s decision-making process, allowing for more efficient and timely decision-making and encouraging cohesion. The new Constitution is now in effect and is available on nhlpa.com.

Fehr will start in his new position immediately.

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Report: NHLPA voting on Donald Fehr 09.09.10 at 5:32 pm ET
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According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, the NHLPA executive board is in the process of voting former MLB head Donald Fehr in as its executive director. A tweet from Brooks says that player reps have until 5 p.m. on Saturday to submit their votes.

Fehr had reportedly been chosen for the position last month according to Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal, but earlier this week Bruins defenseman and player representative Mark Stuart said that a vote to put Fehr in charge had yet to take place.

Fehr, 62, served the NHLPA as an advisor last year after leaving the MLBPA following 13 years as its director. He made his name as baseball’s union head by getting players $280 million due to owners’ collusion and for leading the players association during the baseball strike of 1994-95.

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Mark Stuart feels better about the hand, NHLPA 09.07.10 at 6:02 pm ET
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Bruins defenseman Mark Stuart has been paying close attention to everything that has gone on this season regarding the Ilya Kovalchuk contract saga, and not just because he’ll have a deal of his own to sort out following the season.

The team’s player representative last season, Stuart is invested in seeing that both the NHLPA and the league are on the same page. With the Devils tacking on extra years to what would have eventually been a 17-year deal, the NHL blew the whistle on the contract, stating it circumvented the salary cap by paying top dollar up front and lowering the cap hit with additional, cheaper years. Through the ordeal it came to light that Stuart’s teammate in Marc Savard had one of the contracts the league felt may not have been kosher. After agreeing to a revised calculation of cap hits, the league dropped the investigation.

“I think it was nice to get a rule in place, first of all so those players know whether they have deals or not, and also it helps the GM’s to know what they can and can’t do,” Stuart said. “It was kind of a grey area there. It always helps to have the rules in place. It’s pretty clear-cut now.”

Technically, the teams weren’t breaking any rules by signing players to such contracts. They were cleverly exploiting a loophole, to be sure, and in correcting it the league essentially patched up a problem on the fly. Stuart doesn’t look at it that way, and instead sees the rule change as a beneficial clarification.

“I think it was fair,” Stuart said of the rule change. “It wasn’t really specified before. I think the NHL and NHLPA did a great thing by talking and coming to an agreement. Now there’s a rule in place that’s pretty clear-cut. There wasn’t anything in there before so it was kind of hard to really see if those deals were legal or not.”

Stuart said there is no news on former MLBPA leader Donald Fehr, who has been rumored to be in line for the same job with the NHLPA after serving as an advisor. The defenseman added that there is no planned vote in place to elect Fehr to the position.

“He’s been helping us out,” Stuart said of Fehr’s affiliation with the players association.  “This summer, he’s been a huge help with the different things we’ve been looking at. We’re just talking right now and figuring out which direction we want to go in. ”

After playing 82 games each in 2007-08 and 2008-09, Stuart was able to suit up for just 56 games last season due to a broken sternum, a broken finger, and finally an infection to his hand. Missing time wasn’t something the team’s first round pick from the 2003 draft was exactly used to.

“It wasn’t very fun. That was one of the hardest parts, was just mentally getting over it,” Stuart said after Tuesday’s captain’s practice. “I think at first I didn’t handle it very well. It was just a miserable situation. But once you realize [that] it doesn’t help to get down about it and just try to get back, I think I came a long way, especially the third time, I guess.”

Now with a clean bill of health, Stuart is excited about the upcoming season. The players will vote on his re-election as player rep following training camp, something he is hopeful for.

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