Look, it’s not Don Fehr’s job to worry about the fans. It’s not his job to worry about the game of hockey. His job is to get the best deal possible for the players. If in the process he manages to make it less likely that the owners will immediately lock the players out when the new CBA expires, that’s an added bonus.
It’s Gary Bettman’s job to worry about the fans. I know, it’s his job to take care of the owners, but when the owners are so obviously divided on what they need and want, when they’re so obviously duplicitous when it comes to finding ways to circumvent the cap, when some of them can’t afford to spend to whatever the floor happens to be, then it’s time for the Commissioner to take charge and protect the game of hockey.
Make them share revenue. Make them follow the rules. Tighten things up to avoid front-loading or back-diving contracts. Whatever you want to call them. Stop using the players to prop up the poor teams.
And come on, media. All I saw Wednesday night, during Disclaimer Watch, was talk about how Don should take the moral high road and not derail negotiations by filing for the disclaimer of interest that the players had given him full discretion to use or not.
And then when he did the “right thing” and didn’t file, and the league took advantage of that by getting shitty with the negotiations ~again, all I see is that oh, the league called Don’s bluff, that having the players vote again to disclaim was a bad thing. That answering the NHL’s lawsuit – which they had to do by Jan. 7 – was just another way to derail negotiations.
Come on. If the PA didn’t file the disclaimer by Jan. 2 and there was still no deal, they were always going to vote again. I don’t at all get the vitriol from some members of the press at that.
Parenthetically, I have at this point sworn off reading any comments to any blogs or articles about all of this. It only adds to my own feelings of anger and disgust, mostly at people stupid enough to express their opinions without actually being the least bit informed. So, while I’m sure voting again has added to the level of vitriol from fans, that’s not what I’m talking about here.
This is what I don’t get. Okay, maybe I do. Everything I’ve ever read about Don Fehr, especially from baseball people – and I mean people who have actually dealt with hm, not fans that are upset about their baseball teams and what they think are the catastrophic results of his dealings with baseball – says that he’s honest.
No matter what else they say about him, they say he’s honest and honorable and that dealing with him never involved the levels of duplicity and shenanigans the NHL accuses him of on a daily basis.
I wonder why that is.
If they fuck this up, if they cancel this season, I will know exactly where to place the blame. And it won’t be on Don Fehr or the players he’s doing his best to represent.