NHL lockout: Donald Fehr says a longer work stoppage could lead to unrest over salary cap
Donald Fehr expressed some hope that collective bargaining talks this week will help lead to some resolution.
But he also made it clear in an hour-long meeting with the Toronto Star’s editorial board that the longer the NHL lockoutlasts, the less happy the players will be playing under a salary cap.
“If this goes on for an extended period of time, I don’t know what they (the players) are going to do. But I think it’s safe to say, they would be exploring all options,” said Fehr.
He added the players can live with a salary cap if an agreement can be reached quickly.
“Where the players are, they want to make a deal,” Fehr said. “Even though the owners’ proposal went as far away from the players as they could, the players did not respond in kind. They made a proposal which moved in the owners’ direction. If there can be an agreement in a relatively short term which puts the pieces back together and gets the season going, I think the players can live with that.”
Fehr fell short of calling for the salary cap to be scrapped outright — something that would put the NHL and the players further apart. But it was a reminder to commissioner Gary Bettman and the owners — on the eve of new talks with the league on non-core economic issues — that things can get ugly in a hurry.
“I hope we can continue to make some progress on what we call the non-core economic issues and I hope we can have discussions that can spark a new round of significant talks on the core economic issues,” said Fehr. “Whether that will happen, I can’t predict. But I hope it does.”