Point of View

NHL vs. NHLPA: The (not so) great debate

In honour of the upcoming U.S. presidential debate between incumbent Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney, we here at CBCSports.ca examine what a debate between leaders on both sides of the current NHL lockout would be like.

Could Obama vs. Romney be a blueprint for Bettman vs. Fehr? Probably not.

How would a debate between NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, pictured, play out? (File/Getty Images)

In honour of Wednesday's first U.S. presidential debate in the 2012 election campaign between incumbent Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney, we here at CBCSports.ca examine, pontificate, and totally fabricate what a debate between leaders on both sides of the current NHL lockout would be like.

We present the transcript of how this type of debate may play out:

Scene: Empty boardroom in undisclosed location

Enter Bill Daly, deputy commisioner of the NHL, envoy of Gary Bettman, New York lawyer.

Enter Steve Fehr, special counsel to the NHLPA, brother and envoy of NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr.

Moderator: "Beg my pardon, gentlemen, but we were expecting to conduct this debate between NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr on topics such as hockey related revenues, and other matters integral to ending the current lockout. May I ask what you are doing here?"

Daly: "I'm the deputy commissioner but talking about HRR and so-called 'integral issues...' these just aren't on my radar.

"I'm here to talk about hotel rooms. Specifically, which players get to have their own room, and which veteran players need to share rooms with rookies and help them build blanket forts."

Moderator: "Wonderful. Mr. Fehr?"

S. Fehr: "I'm Donald's bro, bro. I'm here to converse on topics that may actually get discussions back on track."

Moderator: "Such as?"

S. Fehr: "Whose responsibility it is to pay for the inbetween period refreshments, such as sliced oranges."

Two (frustrating) weeks later:

Scene: Empty boardroom in undisclosed location

Enter Gary Bettman, NHL commissioner, envoy of team owners, New York lawyer.

Enter Donald Fehr, executive director of the NHLPA, envoy of the players, Kansas City lawyer.

Moderator: "Welcome, gentlemen. Before we begin, I'd like to remind each of you that ..."

Bettman: "I don't like that question."

Moderator: "Mr. Bettman, I haven't asked a question yet."

Bettman: "This is foolish and reckless. I will not answer a question that has no basis or grounding in reality and isn't based on what are the very real and problematic problems facing this league."

Moderator: "...Okay, then."

D. Fehr: "I have a question, Mr. Moderator."

Moderator: "Go ahead, Mr. Fehr."

D. Fehr: "Thank you. Mr. Bettman, I would like to know why it keeps appearing in the media that we are quote 'engaging in private talks.'"

Bettman: "It does?"

D. Fehr: "Gary, you know as well as I do that someone on a blocked number has been calling me at all hours to ask me if I'm 'based in reality.'"

Moderator: "Do they say anything else?"

D. Fehr: "Yes, then they yell at me to 'make meaningful movement' and hang up."

Moderator: "Mr. Bettman, how do you respond to this allegation of a dirty tricks campaign?"

Bettman: "I've stated at numerous press conferences, in the same hotel lobby, in front of the same marble backdrop, that we are waiting for YOUR call, Don. With an offer. A counter-offer based in reality. That matches our meaningful move--"

D. Fehr: "AHA!"

Bettman: "Talk to the hand, 'cause the face ain't listenin'."

Bettman exits the stage, snapping his fingers three times in a zig-zag formation.

D. Fehr: "My phone is ringing."

[Checks phone]

D. Fehr: "Hmmm, a private number. I have to take this."

Fehr leaves stage to check and see if, as the concerned caller has asked, whether his refrigerator is making meaningful movement.

Moderator: "We got more done with Steve and Bill."