NHL ready for possible lockout

Rosemont, Ill. - NHLPA head Donald Fehr said Friday the players are prepared for the eventuality of an owners' lockout if a new collective bargaining agreement can't be reached.

Fehr wrapped up a meeting held over parts of two days with about 40 players at a hotel outside of O'Hare International Airport. The union will hold similar informational meetings next week in British Columbia and Toronto.

Fehr said it's no surprise for players to hear about the possibility of a lockout, especially since both the NFL and NBA have recently weathered shutdowns.

Players are not surprised and fully understand what the ramifications of a work stoppage would mean, since most of them either lived through or have teammates who were playing when the NHL shut down in 2004, he said.

"It was interested. It was focused. It was sobered," Fehr said, describing the tone of the meetings.

"Players understand what is going on, understand what the issues are and understand how the owners' proposal will affect them, understand how this compares to what happened seven years ago. ... understand that this will affect their lives if we can't find a way through this in the immediate future."

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