“I think so,” he said. “We’ll find out as we get into it whether I’m looking at it correctly.”
Among the other topics Fehr touched on during a wide-ranging interview:
_ On NHL discipline, in which league vice president Brendan Shanahan determines suspensions and commissioner Gary Bettman handles appeals: “The process that we have for handling disciplinary cases is one in which neither the players, nor the union as their representative, have any meaningful role to play. There’s no neutral (body), there’s no appeal and that’s something obviously which we’ve been talking to players about.”
_ On Shanahan releasing videos to explain each suspension this season: “I hope it’s going to be helpful. … I think everybody will have to make their own judgments as things play out as to whether or not that makes things clearer or it doesn’t make things clearer, that it makes things more predictable or it doesn’t make things more predictable. But it’s too soon to make that judgment.”
_ On looking for ways to improve assistance programs following the deaths of Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien and Wade Belak this summer: “We have been talking about that with (players), yes, and letting them know some of the things that we may be doing. Obviously, these were tragic events.”
It’s worth remembering how much change the NHLPA has gone through since the current CBA was signed in 2005. Former executive director Bob Goodenow stepped down shortly after the deal was reached and Ted Saskin, Paul Kelly and Ian Penny, on an interim basis, each took a turn running the union in the meantime.
Fehr has brought a tremendous amount of stability to the organization in a short period of time and is eager to reward the players for putting their faith in him.
“The players didn’t have a particularly good or pleasant experience in the last round of negotiations,” he said. “Obviously, they remember that. What I look forward to is trying to be of assistance in negotiating a new CBA, which is one that the players are satisfied with, are happy with and represents some real achievements on their behalf.
“If I can help them accomplish that, that’ll make me feel pretty good, too.”