NHL Lockout: Is Donald Fehr Setting Things Up to Get Rid of the Salary Cap?

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistNovember 19, 2012

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 12: NHLPA President Donald Fehr arrives for the Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Brookfield Place on November 12, 2012 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The lockout has canceled the first two months of the season and it seems likely that the league will make an announcement to cancel some or all of the games in December quite soon.

Progress has obviously come slowly, and the negotiations have been halting.

It seems that the NHL has been making all the demands and the NHLPA has had to make all concessions.

For example, the NHLPA received 57 percent of hockey-related revenue (HRR) in the last collective bargaining agreement (source: SI.com).

That CBA ran out Sept. 15 and the NHL locked out its players at that point. Commissioner Gary Bettman asked players to take 43 percent of the gross at the start of negotiations before raising that amount to 47 percent and then to 50 percent (source: TSN.ca).

Executive director Donald Fehr and the NHLPA have acceded to those demands and have agreed to a 50 percent share of HRR at a certain point, but not immediately (source: Toronto Sun). The owners have asked that players accept a 50 percent share in Year 1 of the agreement.

Earlier this month, Steve Fehr of the NHLPA said he did not think the two sides were far apart and that the NHL and NHLPA could reach an agreement quickly (source: SportingNews.com). Bill Daly, the NHL's No. 2 man in the negotiations, said he hoped Fehr was right.

While nothing has happened since then, there is still reason to think that if both sides met continuously and seriously in the talks, an agreement would be possible.

However, if that agreement does not occur and the 2012-13 season gets canceled, Fehr may have other options.

He could choose to go after the salary cap that the two sides agreed to in the last set of negotiations (source: Toronto Sun).

No salary cap existed prior to the 2005-06 season and it was the primary reason behind the 2004-05 lockout.

Since the owners are saying that not enough of their teams are making money right now and that players' salaries must be reduced, Fehr and the NHLPA may want to return to the days when there was no salary cap.

A move like that would set back the already-damaged relationship between the NHL and the NHLPA.

However, the players are growing weary of Bettman and his bullying ways and may want to hit back in this one-sided fight.

That probably would not happen unless the league cancels the 2012-13 season.

A response like that by the NHLPA would then threaten the 2013-14 season.