NHL Lockout: Donald Fehr Acknowledges Fears of Fractures Inside NHLPA

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NHL Lockout: Donald Fehr Acknowledges Fears of Fractures Inside NHLPA
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Rumors are swirling that the NHL is close to pulling the plug on the 2013 Winter Classic, via Katie Strang of ESPN.

If that does occur, many believe that the cancellation of the entire season will follow shortly thereafter. For now, fans, players and owners can still hold out hope that a deal will get done and that we will see at least a partial season of NHL hockey in 2013.

As the lockout drags on, there is the potential that a schism will take place within the ranks of the National Hockey League Players' Association. With players missing paychecks, there is a real chance that some of them will start to bend.

That division may have already occurred. That type of rift is just another thing that NHLPA head Donald Fehr has to contend with, and it’s something he is fully aware of.

Fehr recently had the following exchange with Michael Russo of the Star Tribune:

Russo: Are you worried about fractures in the union or players worried about lost wages? Are some players frightened?

Fehr: Yeah. … But that doesn’t mean you make a bad agreement because of it.

Russo then noted, “'ll have more on the above subject in the coming days because some players are very worried.”

Will the NHLPA break before the owners?

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The owners have an advantage here. Fehr, who serves at the will of the NHLPA, effectively has to do the bidding of the players. If a majority of those players say make a deal, he can either make a deal or be ousted from his position.

From the ownership side of things, Gary Bettman only needs support from eight of the owners to veto anything the other 22 may want. If you think old-school owners like Jeremy Jacobs and Ed Snider can’t or won’t wait for the players to crumble, you haven’t been following the NHL for too long. 

If the owners get any indication that the players are starting to worry, they will dig their heels in hard and refuse to budge off their offers. These are very wealthy businessmen; they didn’t get that way by making deals that didn’t have their best interest and bottom line in mind.

Fehr has done a great job of keeping the NHLPA together so far. The longer the lockout drags on, the more difficult that job will become.

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