Fehr on odds of players accepting another salary rollback: “Don’t you like me in this job?”

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The NHL and NHLPA are expected to begin talks on a new CBA in the near future. There has been plenty of speculation about what NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will ask for and how NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr will approach the talks.

In the coming weeks, we might begin to get a sense for which rumors have weight. However, one thing that’s very unlikely to happen is the players’ union agreeing to another sizable salary rollback.

The players had their salaries reduced by 24 percent as part of the lockout-ending agreement and Fehr’s reaction when asked if the players would accept a similar rollback this time around was telling.

“Don’t you like me in this job?” Fehr cracked. “All I can say is that we won’t make any economic proposals that the players aren’t aware of or don’t approve of. That’s first and foremost. Secondly they recognized that they made enormous concessions in the last round of bargaining. That is part of the backdrop that leads us into this round of negotiations along with a myriad of other factors.

“We’ll see what happens when we get to that. I don’t make predictions. [Coming to mutual agreement] is the goal. Hopefully that’s a goal that everybody shares.”

It’s safe to assume that everyone wants to reach an agreement. In the coming weeks, we’ll start to get a better sense for how long that will take.