Donald Fehr, Kevin Westgath, George Parros

Fehr claims sides were “very close” to a deal


NHLPA head Donald Fehr addressed the Canadian Auto Workers on Saturday, but many – including’s Tim Panaccio – believe that his messages were really aimed at the owners.

Most notably, Fehr said that the two sides were “very close” to getting a deal done, but after saying that it was more or less rhetoric time again (via Sportsnet).

“All I can tell you is there had been some movement,” Fehr said. “We responded with some movement, we think we’re done on the dollars or close to it … It seemed to me that we ought to be able to move forward and finish things off (but) they have not indicated a willingness to move forward.”

Fehr goes on to say there has been some communication since things blew up on Thursday, yet nothing substantial.

There are the occasional players who seem to speak out sporadically, but Chris Campoli ranks among those who emphasize the support Fehr generally enjoys.

“He’s our guy, he’s our leader and we believe in him,” Campoli said. “There’s not going to be a deal without him.”

Ryan Kesler also expressed his approval, claiming that Fehr’s leadership has “never been stronger.”

So Fehr claims that the sides might be close and the players seem firmly behind their leader, but what’s next?

“You keep negotiating,” Fehr said.

It’s just unclear when that may resume.

PHT Morning Skate: 10 years of Ovechkin; 10,000 days with Lamoriello

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Looking back at 10 years of Alex Ovechkin with the Washington Capitals, in case the above video made you want more. (CSN Mid-Atlantic)

David Conte spent 10,000 days with Lou Lamoriello and lived to tell about it. (TSN)

Want to spot some contract year guys? Here are 32 pending restricted free agents. (Sportsnet)

NHL GMs are starting to sniff around with the 2015-16 season about to kick off. (Ottawa Sun)

Some backstory on Zack Kassian that was passed around on Twitter last evening. (Canucks website)

Hey, you can’t say Raffi Torres hasn’t literally paid for his ways:

This is some quality chirping between Jaromir Jagr and Matthew Barnaby:

Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?

Montreal Canadiens v Minnesota Wild

Does the NHL have a cocaine problem?

TSN caught up with deputy commissioner Bill Daly, who provided some fascinating insight:

“The number of [cocaine] positives are more than they were in previous years and they’re going up,” Daly said. “I wouldn’t say it’s a crisis in any sense. What I’d say is drugs like cocaine are cyclical and you’ve hit a cycle where it’s an ‘in’ drug again.”


Daly said that he’d be surprised  “if we’re talking more than 20 guys” and then touched on something that may be a problem: they don’t test it in a “comprehensive way.”

As Katie Strang’s essential ESPN article about the Los Angeles Kings’ tough season explored in June, there are some challenges for testing for a drug like cocaine. That said, there are also some limitations that may raise some eyebrows.

For one, it metabolizes quickly. Michael McCabe, a Philadelphia-based toxicology expert who works for Robson Forensic, told that, generally speaking, cocaine filters out of the system in two to four days, making it relatively easy to avoid a flag in standard urine tests.

The NHL-NHLPA’s joint drug-testing program is not specifically designed to target recreational drugs such as cocaine or marijuana. The Performance Enhancing Substances Program is put into place to do exactly that — screen for performance-enhancing drugs.

So, are “party drugs” like cocaine and molly an issue for the NHL?

At the moment, the answer almost seems to be: “the league hopes not.”

Daly goes into plenty of detail on the issue, so read the full TSN article for more.