Fehr fears player exodus from NHL

31 October 2012 15:19

NHL Players Association special counsel Steve Fehr says it would be regrettable if the game's stars opted to remain in Europe.

Fehr is at loggerheads with the NHL over a new collective bargaining agreement which has seen a shutout enforced since September.

New Jersey Devils winger Ilya Kovalchuk, now plying his trade at SKA Saint Petersburg, recently said players are more likely to stay in Europe the longer the standoff continues.

"Interestingly, some players - including some prominent players - have spoken publicly, saying that depending on what happens with this dispute, they may not return from Europe," Fehr said.

"I hope that doesn't happen, but if it did, it'd be very unfortunate for the NHL."

Negotiations have not taken place since the NHL and NHLPA swapped proposals nearly two weeks ago, with the league reportedly set to cancel the Winter Classic.

The NHL season has already been postponed until November 30 at the earliest.

"We don't think that the salary-cap system is a terrific system," Fehr added.

"We think the revenue sharing is inadequate, we think the revenue sharing the clubs have proposed so far is inadequate.

"Last time, I wasn't involved in negotiations but my understanding is that the union warned there was not going to be enough revenue-sharing to solve the industry problems and to help the small market or so-called low revenue clubs.

"Where one of our concerns primarily is that if we go down the road the league wants us to and we accept their proposals or the bulk of them, then a few years from now when the CBA is being negotiated, we'll be in the same place.

"And they'll be saying that certain clubs like Nashville and Phoenix and Florida and Tampa have problems and the only way to solve those is to take more money from the players.

"We think there should be a different approach."

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