NHL Lockout: Don’t Dare Fehr
It appears that Gary Bettman feels the NHL and the NHLPA need a break from negotiations. As if 60 days of the NHL Lockout were not enough, Bettman is looking for another two weeks before they speak again. So after two intense weeks of heated negotiations, Gary needs a rest. He wants to take his blanket and go home. There has been a lot of talking and wheel spinning over the past few weeks. No one can argue that having the two stubborn sides actively discussing is a good thing. However, it can also be argued that not much is coming out of these discussions. For the fans, progress=hockey.
So why does Commissioner Bettman, who thinks that locking out workers is the first step in any labor negotiation, feel they need a recess? Well, perhaps it is because he has grossly underestimated his counterpart this time around? In the NHLPA corner is the battle-hardened union hawk, Donald Martin Fehr. Bettman is now realizing that this is not former union boss, Bob Goodenow, who Bettman made his labor wench over and over again.
Bettman must have forgotten that Fehr was the man who forced Major League Baseball owners to admit and pay $280 million in damages to its players due to collusion; an effort to avoid competitive bidding for a player’s services. He turned the MLBPA into the strongest unionize group of workers in America. He was also that man that kept his union solid enough to force the 1994 World Series to be CANCELLED!! Something that has only happened once before (1904).
CANCELLED! The World Series. Cancelled! Without batting an eyelash. No October magic for America’s past time because Fehr made his ball players believe in its cause. Just like he is doing with his frozen players. If Fehr could find the resolve to force the cancellation of America’s favorite game, do you think he has any reservation about seeing the 4th (sometimes 5th) ranked sport in the US disappear for a year, or even two?
Bettman does not need a two-week moratorium. What he needs is an old Priest and a young Priest because he is being educated on how a labor dispute is really fought. I thought there would be hockey by Thanksgiving, but Fehr is no turkey. And he certainly is no chicken. He is indeed a hawk.