Unless I'm missing something, the NHL players union, who have never appeared to have much bargaining power, should have de-certified and begun anti-trust lawsuits weeks ago. At this point, the union may have waited so long that player support of the union may be in jeapardy. What is with their leadership?
De-certification and antitrust lawsuits are very, very expensive propositions, and the NHLPA isn't on the same firm financial footing that the NFLPA and NBPA were when they initiated those actions. The NFLPA, for example, had a secret insurance fund that would have paid every player $200,000 in the event that the 2011 season were canceled; it was able to afford that because it had more than $200 million in the bank during the spring of 2011. De-certification is the nuclear option and commits the NHLPA to a lot of very expensive maneuvering. I don't think it'll happen until the NHL cancels the entire season.
Fehr is a master negotiator, and it's important to keep in mind that Bettman and the owners have never
faced a strong union before, which is why they keep pushing buttons -- this is uncharted territory for them. Fehr spent 32 years fucking Major League Baseball up the ass and got the sport to a point where they've had 17 years of uninterrupted labor peace.
Remember, the league opened up this labor war by demanding that the players give up everything, and the only movement from them is now they're demanding the players give up almost
everything. Fehr knows what he's doing, and believe me, he's got the support of the players. Fehr doesn't set policy: He'll guide and he'll advise and he'll suggest, but at the end of the day he doesn't make decisions, he lets the players make decisions. He dominated baseball by knowing to reduce demands rather than negotiating without the full support of his union.