Fehr: Latest offer rejections sign of “fairly long road” ahead

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NHLPA boss Donald Fehr presented the NHL with three proposals in response to the league’s most recent CBA offer. It turns out that the league’s offer was, in Fehr’s words to the players, essentially a “take it or leave it” deal.

The union could offer tweaks, but the NHL wasn’t interested in going much beyond that.

Since then, QMI Agency has spoken to Fehr and asked him if the NHL’s quick dismissal of the league’s offers made him upset.

“I don’t get upset. I don’t get excited. It’s just another indication that this is going to be fairly long road,” Fehr said based on the Ottawa Sun’s transcript.

He said that the players might consider and evaluate a number of options if the league doesn’t eventually back down from their current stance and we end up in greater jeopardy of losing the entire season, but he didn’t go into details. However, he has previously implied that he might fight the salary cap itself if the lockout drags on.

Fehr also sidestepped the question of if the players are willing to lose this season if they feel it’s necessary to get a deal that they are comfortable with.

“Players will make all of those decisions and I never speculate about stuff like that,” Fehr said. “I have never my entire career. I think it’s counter-productive … You can judge the level of the resolve just by talking to the players and listening to them. I’m not concerned about the unity and resolve of the players.”

As it stands, Fehr says that while the union is still available to resume the negotiations, he claims “where the commissioner left it was: (Don’t call) unless you’re prepared to tell me you’ll accept everything that’s on the table.”

He says the exception is if the players want to entertain a “make whole” provision, which Fehr describes as “players paying players for the reduced salaries in the first two years.”

So to sum it up, we’re back in limbo, but we can hope that the players and owners latest offers brought them closer together in the long-term, even if it has divided them further in the short-term.