While it’s hasty to say that Donald Fehr becoming the head of the NHL PA = lockout/doomsday, it didn’t stop people like me from making jokes about 2012 and storing water in bomb shelters.
Despite what people on Twitter and Internet forums might have you believe, negativity over the hiring isn’t universal. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, for one, seems pretty optimistic according to an interview in the Globe and Mail.
“Look, I’m not looking forward to Armageddon, that’s for sure,” said Daly. “The sport will be well served by dealing with its issues in a reasonable, insightful way, through the negotiation process, and that’s what we’re looking to do.”
“Clearly, leadership is going to be an important step forward,” said Daly. “They’ve been without a leader and working by committee for a year. Clearly, it’s not as quick, efficient and effective as it otherwise might be. We’re looking forward to that decision being made and that position being filled.”
That being said, there are a lot of issues to sort out by the time the Collective Bargaining Agreement runs out after the 2011-12 season. “Strong leadership” could mean stubborn decision making (aka an increased probability of a strike/lockout).
Hopefully, Daly, Gary Bettman, Fehr and everyone else involved will understand just how crucial it is to the health of the league that they not miss any regular season games. On the bright side, there is plenty of time if the two sides are proactive.
If not, the second half of 2012 could be awfully rough.