The head of the NHLPA, Donald Fehr, recently sat down with the Canadian media to discuss the upcoming World Cup of Hockey while also touching on other subjects of note. An edited and condensed version of the interview was posted by Jonas Siegel on The Globe And Mail. As usual, the entire piece is worth a read but here are some of the highlights.
When asked whether or not the union was on board with the timing of the tournament, Fehr said, “it’s not that pre-season is the best time, but it probably is, at the moment, better than the others.”
He would go on to state: “There has been some informal discussions, for purposes of this World Cup that never rose to the level of serious consideration, that maybe we ought to do it in February. And it’s conceivable that that would be considered going forward.”
There is no perfect time to hold an event like this. Any way you look at it, a tournament held at any point in the year is going to prolong the season and shorten the summer for the players. While teams would probably prefer their players not to participate due in large part to the risk of injury, both owners and union members have a vested interest in successfully pulling off events of this nature since the added revenue will be divided by the players and the league.
Fehr also addressed the idea of European expansion from the players’ perspective. He indicated at least a few players have taken note of the KHL’s presence on the continent and the fact that so many players are European born. While making it clear these conversations were of the internal variety and did not involve the NHL in any way, Fehr did seem to suggest the players would be open to the idea and it was something that would merit further study.
Finally, on the subject of the potential of another lockout, Fehr pointed out that baseball has been the only sport to experience prolonged labor peace over the last two decades. He also mentions, probably not coincidentally, that baseball is the only major sports league without a salary cap.
In terms of possibly avoiding another work stoppage following the 2018-19 campaign when both parties will have the option of opting out of the current CBA, Fehr referenced just how far off that point in time is relative to the average player’s career by saying: “our membership will turn over more than 50 per cent between now and then.”
More from around the NHL:
- The Las Vegas expansion franchise today announced yet another addition to their front office/operations staff. The club has hired Mike Levine for a scouting/player development position. Levine spent the last three years as an assistant coach at Brown University. According to the release on the Vegas Is Hockey website, Levine comes with a solid reputation as a recruiter both at the collegiate and prep levels.
- Not surprisingly, Milan Lucic said as many as 10 teams expressed serious interest in signing the big winger before he inked a seven-year contract with Edmonton, according to Chris Nichols writing for Today’s Slap Shot. Lucic was one of the top players available on July 1st and was guaranteed to generate a lot of interest on the free agent market. It’s not certain how many of Lucic’s suitors were willing to extend themselves as far as the Oilers did, either financially or with a seven-year term, but his status as a coveted free agent was never in doubt. He would ultimately choose Edmonton, saying, “I went with my heart and my loyalty to Peter and chose the Edmonton Oilers.”
- Sportsnet’s John Shannon tweeted earlier today that the St. Louis Blues will announce Alex Pietrangelo as the team’s new captain tomorrow. He will replace David Backes, who left St. Louis in free agency after accepting a five-year deal with the Boston Bruins. The choice of Pietrangelo makes a lot of sense given he is one of the team’s best players, has been with the organization his entire pro career and is under long-term contract ensuring he will be a Blue for the foreseeable future.