Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/18/14
TORONTO — A new NHL labor deal might not be as far off as it seems. Steve Fehr, special counsel to the NHL Players’ Association, says the collective bargaining agreement can be wrapped up in a hurry once the sides make a breakthrough in negotiations. “One thing (deputy commissioner) Bill Daly and I agree upon is that, when the moment is right, the deal could be done very quickly,” Fehr said Monday during a panel discussion at the PrimeTime Sports Management Conference. “One day, three days or whatever.” Asked later if he agreed with that assertion, Daly replied: “I hope he’s right.” Representatives from the NHL and NHLPA have met seven of the last nine days, but no future talks are planned. Fehr told the panel that three issues remain to be solved: the split of money, player contract rights and who pays for the damage caused by the lockout. The contract issue in particular has flared up recently, with Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby sounding off on that topic to reporters Monday. The NHL has proposed changes to entry-level deals, arbitration, free agency and contract limits. “The question I’d ask is: Why would we change that?” Crosby said. “I think we all think it’s the most competitive league in the world. So why would you go and change that — the way contracts go and the way teams can operate?” Fehr and Daly discussed the player rights issue during a meeting Sunday afternoon, and the union leader said he doesn’t think it will ultimately keep them from striking a deal. “We’re not making any real progress in those areas,” Fehr said. “It’s kind of hard to believe anyone’s going to drive the industry bus off a cliff over things like that, but I’ve seen things before that surprise me.” On a more positive note, he indicated that the sides were “fairly close” to an agreement on revenue sharing. It’s thought that the NHL is willing to bump the annual pot to $220 million from its current position of $140 million. The NHL lockout started in mid-September and forced the cancellation of all regular-season games through Nov. 30. A deal likely would need to be struck early next week for a shortened season to begin Dec. 1. On Monday, Fehr was joined on the labor issues panel by Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke, New York Giants assistant GM Kevin Abrams and Toronto Raptors vice president Ed Stefanski. Most of the talk centered on the NHL negotiations, which kept Burke uncharacteristically quiet because team officials can be fined up to $1 million for speaking about the CBA. At one point, he quipped: “This is painful.” Fehr also spoke of his experiences with the Major League Baseball Players’ Association, where he earned the nickname “Designated Optimist” during the 2002 talks, and observed that lockouts seem to have become unavoidable in sports with a salary cap. “It’s almost as if in the capped sports it’s become a rewriting of the Hippocratic Oath,” Fehr said. “Instead of ‘first, do no harm,’ it’s first lockout and then we’ll see what happens. I guess they’ve decided they can live with how the fans feel about it, and they’re not going to be shy about doing it.” He also hinted that NHL owners might not be taking the union seriously during these negotiations. “It does remind me certainly of some disputes long ago in baseball,” Fehr said. “In some ways, it reminds me of baseball in the ’80s and maybe the early ’90s before the baseball owners, in our view, accepted that the union was here to stay and wanted to make a deal with the union as opposed to fighting with the union. “We’ll see.”
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Byron Scott: ‘Idiots’ think Lakers are better team without Kobe

Undrafted QB Connor Shaw to sign with Browns, likely start

Report: Alex Smith out week 17 with lacerated spleen

Belichick: Garoppolo has better understanding of NFL

Lionel Hollins: 'Honored and blessed to coach Kevin Garnett'

Curt Schilling gives Johnny Manziel advice on Twitter

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

The last time the Lions won in Green Bay

Carmelo Anthony: The Knicks are dying

Andre Johnson willing to take pay cut with Texans?

Mets star David Wright reaches out to sons of slain NYPD officer

Panthers coach replaces break-in victims’ Christmas presents

Bruce Arians benches Logan Thomas on Christmas Day

Report: New Jersey Devils fire head coach Peter DeBoer

Mark Richt confirms Todd Gurley will leave UGA for NFL

Frank Gore: Colin Kaepernick is 'not broke'

The story of Morgan Bulkeley and birth of National League

Five breakout stars in 2014

The 2014 NFL All-Help Offense

Five things the world learned about the NBA on Christmas

What if Bear Bryant coached in the NFL?

The year’s 10 most notable sports media stories

'Roberto' Gronkowski wishes Pats fans Feliz Navidad

Are the Seahawks back on track?

WATCH: LeBron gets standing ovation from Heat fans in return

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Five breakout stars in 2014

The 2014 NFL All-Help Offense

Five things learned about NBA on X-Mas

What if Bear Bryant coached in the NFL?

Carmelo Anthony: The Knicks are dying

The last time the Lions won in Green Bay

Year's most notable sports media stories

'Roberto Gronkowski wishes fans Feliz Navidad

Are the Seahawks back on track?

Wright reaches out to slain officer's sons

Q&A with Rich Eisen; TNF, DirecTV and living in LA

Dan Le Batard sums up Miami's relationship with LeBron

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.