Even after last week's turn of events, Fehr still hopeful

Even after last week's turn of events, Fehr still hopeful
December 8, 2012, 9:12 pm
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Donald Fehr concluded his speech with a bit of an icebreaker.
If anyone has a brilliant idea on how to solve the lockout, dont keep it to yourself, Fehr said when he addressed the Canadian Auto Workers in Toronto on Saturday. We express hope that were able to find a way through this and get the guys back on the ice sooner rather than later.
Fehr said the two sides were close to doing that on Thursday; but after a bizarre series of events and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman denying that, talks broke off. But on Saturday, Fehr reiterated that he believes the players and league are close to a deal.
I think were very close, he told reporters following his speech. But you have to keep talking. So far theyre unwilling to do it.
As for the possibility of decertification, Fehr said, thats always an option and it has been exercised in other sports. Beyond that, I cant comment.
The league and players association left Thursday on a nasty note. A visibly angry Bettman said the two sides were not close to a deal, that the league would not budge on certain items including five-year player contract limits and that no further talks were planned.
Deputy commissioner Bill Daly, in an email to the Associated Press on Friday, said, I have no reason, nor any intention of reaching out to the union right now. I have no new ideas. Maybe they do. We are happy to listen.
Former Blackhawks defenseman Chris Campoli said the union remains very strong.
Dons our guy, our leader and we believe in him, he said. The last few years the associations come a long way in restoring respectability. Theres not going to be a deal without him there. He has the complete backing of our membership.
It was an interesting week, folks, no doubt. And while I rarely interject opinion into stories notice I didnt say Twitter Im going to now. I do believe the two sides are close. And I still believe a deal will be done. I said from the start that I thought theyd be playing some time in December or January, and I will go down swinging with that.
If Im wrong, Im wrong. Ill just add it to the tote board.