It's a stretch to call it being fvcked by the owners. The majority of the players are so out of touch with reality that they don't even have a clue what the average family has to go through to just get by anymore. The owners and players are a joke and the hell to them both if this garbage keeps getting dragged out.
I can assure you that however out of touch the players are, the owners are more so. This has nothing to with what people have to do to get by. It has to do with being fairly compensated for exceedingly rare talents.
So when Fehr's constantly late for meetings, doesn't propose real offers and finds a million ways to stall that's constructive to getting a deal done?
It takes two sides to get a deal done.
The NHL wants a deal now, the players themselves thought all along the best deal would come in December...well now it's December and they're still stalling, to what exactly? The deal's not getting any better, the only things that have changed since the October proposal are leaving the FA age and arbitration untouched and offering more make whole money over a longer term.
Yeah, they only got more money and better terms. Remember in October when people said the deal isn't getting any better? They were wrong. And they'll be wrong again - if the PA continues to stall, they will get a 'better' offer. They will end up with less money, but they will end up with a more equitable offer.
The only way this deal gets better after this weekend is if this goes nuclear into the courts with decertification and whatever else they want to try. It's not getting better in a negotiation. 50/50 is still similar/better than what other major sports get. FA at 27 is the best of the four major sports if I'm not mistaken. Even the contract limits are still better than the NBA (4/5 compared to 5/7) and NFL's non-guaranteed deals. If they want to cry poverty they're only going to make it worse for themselves PR-wise and in the final deal when it's all said and done.
Again, you don't know the issues. HRR is more limiting than revenue calculations in other sports, so right there, NHL players make less. FA at 27 is the best of the four major sports, but part of that has to do with sport structure - MLB and the NFL have almost 0 18 or 19 year olds while the NHL usually has at least 10 or 15 these days, and it goes from there.
Fehr wants a MLB-like system, the owners want an NBA-like system. The only way Fehr's going to win that battle is in the courts, and that's if the union doesn't off him first.
The union hired him for exactly this. It's brinkmanship - if Fehr can squeeze a little more out of the owners here, he's done his job and can go off into the sunset. Bettman would've had a PR win and a $$$ win - if Fehr is being a hardliner like is being suggested by journalists, he's telling Bettman - you can win the PR battle by looking like the good guys while I 'ruin' the deal by actually asking for real concessions, or you can add more incentives to it to actually get us to sign it.