Latest NHL tactic not well received by players | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaLatest NHL tactic not well received by players

Posted: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 | 03:58 PM

Back to accessibility links
NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr, front, continues to have the full support of the players. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr, front, continues to have the full support of the players. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Beginning of Story Content

After seeing and hearing the players' reaction on the latest, dodgy manoeuvre from the NHL owners' side to talk to the players without the NHLPA's knowledge, we wonder whether the NHL still believes this was a good idea?

The NHL didn't see anything wrong with cajoling its owners and general managers to make contact with their players to discuss the lockout and answer any questions from their players last week.

TVA sports reporter Louis Jean broke the news on Monday evening, that team officials were permitted to talk with players about the NHL lockout from mid-week to a Friday midnight local time deadline.

But after seeing and hearing the players' reaction on the latest, dodgy manoeuvre from the owners' side in this 38-day lockout, we wonder whether the NHL still believes this was a good idea?

This was, after all, met with a similar level of fury evident last Thursday, when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and his negotiating team rejected three counterproposals after only 10 minutes of deliberation.

There was a one player who was left scratching his head after he hung up from his conversation with a team official because the latter clearly didn't understand the "make whole" provision in the owners' proposal from last Tuesday.

When the player told his team official that this provision essentially had players paying players for reduced salaries in one year by reducing their salaries in later years, the team official was left red faced.

Maybe this was the result of the NHL keeping a small group involved in the negotiations and prohibiting all owners and team officials from commenting on the collective agreement process.

"Most owners are not allowed to attend bargaining meetings," NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr said in a statement. "No owners are allowed to speak to the media about the bargaining. It is interesting that they are secretly unleashed to talk to the players about the meetings the players can attend, but the owners cannot."

Maybe this latest tactic was a way for the owners to detect if there any cracks on the players' side. Maybe Bettman wanted to find out from team officials if they noticed the players were antsy and not in step with NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr.

Fehr has full support of players

That has not been the case. The players have fully supported their leader. There hasn't been one player comment that has indicated they don't believe in Donald Fehr or the NHLPA's negotiating committee.

So maybe this trickery from the NHL was a good development in the sense they now know the players remain entrenched in their position. Maybe now that even though the sides have not talked since the emotions ran high last Thursday, the owners will find a way to honour all existing contracts up front, the main matter at hand that needs to be settled.

Maybe if the owners detected cracks in the union, they'd let this lockout elapse another three weeks and then slam down the hammer. Maybe now the owners realize the players mean business and try one more time at striking a deal before Thursday's deadline to save an 82-game schedule.

Or maybe this simply was a way to pressurize or threaten the players that they could lose another season. After all, the league office was forceful in its memo to direct team officials in their contact with players last week.

"As a matter of labor law you are permitted to express the views and opinions of the Club and the League concerning the proposal currently on the table", read part of the memo that Yahoo! Sports obtained.

  • You may not "Negotiate" with a Player.
  • You may not ask "What do you want?" or "What do the Players want?" or "What should the League propose?"
  • If a Player tells you that he or others are trying to find a different approach, he should be told that all ideas and suggestions should be presented to the Union and not directly to you or anyone else in the League except through the Union. 
  • You may not ask him what he or others have in mind.
  • If he volunteers what he has in mind you should not respond positively or negatively or ask any questions but instead refer him to the NHLPA.
  • You may not suggest hypothetical proposals that the League might make in the future or that the League might entertain from the Union.

But were these guidelines followed or was this simply an act of bargaining in bad faith?

End of Story Content

Back to accessibility links

Story Social Media

End of Story Social Media

Comments are closed.