NHL Lockout: 4 Reasons Why Donald Fehr Should Be Fired If the Season Is Canceled
Negotiations between the NHL and players' union this week have been productive, but if no CBA is reached by the deadline to save the season and the year is lost, the players must fire NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr.
He was brought to the NHLPA to help the players reach a fair CBA and not lose an entire season. Failure to accomplish these goals will likely cost him his job as executive director of the union.
Let's look at four reasons why the players should fire Fehr if the 2012-13 season is lost.
Poor Negotiating with Gary Bettman
When the NHL lost a season seven years ago, union leader Bob Goodenow was unable to negotiate well with league commissioner Gary Bettman.
In fact, there wasn't much negotiating of any kind for the first few months of the lockout.
Losing the entire 2004-05 season cost Goodenow his job. His inability to work with Bettman was a real problem and prevented progress from being made.
Fehr was brought in by the players as a great negotiator who could work out a favorable deal and save the season. If he cannot work with Bettman and finalize a deal before it's too late, he will have failed just like Goodenow.
This tweet from Adrian Dater of the Denver Post tells us a lot about Fehr:
From deep inside players side: "We were ready to play again. But Don came in (Wed.) and told us we could get more and to hold out"— adater (@adater) December 7, 2012
The NHLPA Needs a Hockey Guy Leading Them
Even though being a former NHL player or having a hockey background aren't requirements for the executive director position of the NHLPA, it would certainly benefit the players if their union leader was a hockey guy.
The best man for this job is someone who loves the sport and will not allow ego and personal battles to get in the way of helping the game.
Regardless of how this lockout is resolved, the players should select their next NHLPA leader based on his previous work in the sport of hockey.
Good Progress Was Made Without Him
It wasn't surprising that as soon as Fehr was removed from the negotiating meetings, the NHLPA was able to make some progress with the owners, including the hard-liners like Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs.
If progress was made without Fehr being at the bargaining table, then why is he even with the NHLPA?
The NHLPA needs someone who can work well with the other side and solve problems by negotiating in good faith.
If Fehr's presence at the bargaining table rarely results in much progress being made, then he's not the right man for the job.
Lost Player Salaries
Losing the season would result in a huge loss in salary for the players, and for a lot of guys, a cancelled season is a horrifying scenario to think about.
As Damien Cox of the Toronto Star points out, the players have already suffered a considerable amount of financial damage during the lockout.
Players have lost $517 million in pay, which now exceeds the $500 m they were looking for in "make whole." The math is getting tougher.— Damien Cox (@DamoSpin) December 6, 2012
How many players really want to lose a season from the prime of their careers? That could happen if a new CBA isn't reached soon.
There's no reason for the players to fight with the NHL over small differences when there's so much money at stake.
If Fehr cannot help the union save the season and as much of the players' salaries for 2012-13 as possible, he should be fired.