While Justin Schultz is one of the biggest benefactors of this lockout, Devan Dubnyk might be one of the biggest losers. He just signed a two-year extension with the hopes he’d have the opportunity to prove he can be a #1 goalie. The lockout has been a massive roadblock in those plans thus far, and I wonder if being the Oilers’ PA representative makes it even more frustrating for him.

I caught up with Dubnyk and got his thoughts on the CBA, being the Oilers representative, the Roberto Luongo rumours and how he is trying to keep his goaltending skills sharp.

JG: How heavily involved are you? Do you talk to Donald Fehr on a regular basis? Do you have conference calls with your teammates or text messaging? How does it work in your position?

DD: Well, it’s pretty much any time there’s something significant to talk about, there’s a conference call; and lately, that’s been two or three a week, and I’ll jump on the call and listen in. There’s a question period at the end if we want to make a comment or ask a question. They’re really at good keeping us informed. From there, all the guys know to contact me. I’ll get text messages from the guys, or whoever is around Edmonton with me, we’ll talk about it whenever we’re together and just stay informed. I think that’s the most important thing. It’s been clear that the players have been extremely informed through all this.

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JG: Have you noticed if the tone of questioning changed now that the season is on and we’ve already lost a month of games?

DD: Yeah. I mean guys want to play, that’s no secret. We grew up loving the game and playing the game so when it’s taken away from us, it becomes real pretty fast. When you’re sitting here in October and not playing, guys start to ask if we think something’s going to get done. But at the same time, they’re very adamant about getting a fair deal, so it definitely makes it a little more real, I should say, when you do start missing games.

JG: Last week the NHLPA came out and said they weren’t overly happy with the NHL and their 48 hour window that allowed management to talk to players. Did you know about this window, and did you have contact with the Oilers organization during the 48 hours?

DD: I didn’t realize until after it came out that it was a league wide thing. There was a little bit of reach out from the organization, but it was not a push from them by any means. It was just simply: If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call. But I’ve heard other things as far as how other teams handled it, but it’s one of those things it was a tactic. It seems to be a PR thing that the league did. But for me personally, I didn’t have much involvement with Edmonton.

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JG: You mentioned how other teams went about it differently. Were they more aggressive contacting the players? Did they call the reps? How was it different?

DD: I don’t know too much about it. It was just a reach out saying if you have any questions, call us. And I’m not sure how other things were handled, but obviously it’s not something that the PA wants. They don’t want the NHL kind of going around the union representative to get to the players another way.

JG: Manny Malhotra said had he known it was available to him, he would have called the Canucks and asked a few questions himself. How come you didn’t make a call to the Oilers and ask them some questions?

DD: I’ve been on these calls every week, and Don does a very good job of informing us exactly what the proposals are and what theirs are, what they mean, and what they would mean for us; so I just didn’t feel like I had any questions. I certainly thought about it and thought about different things that I might have questions about, but like I said, Don keeps us so well informed that I really didn’t feel like I had any questions.

JG: So where do you go from here. Because on a personal level, this would be a huge season for you; an opportunity to be the number one guy going into the season; a chance to start the year; finish the year; play maybe 55 games; and hopefully, for you, cement yourself as number one netminder. The longer you go without playing, how much more difficult does that become?

DD: It’s frustrating. Obviously, there’s a lot of excitement around Edmonton, and for good reason. And on a personal level, like you said, this is a very big season for me, and I was very excited. So I’m still keeping my fingers crossed that we can get after it, sooner rather than later, but it does become tough. I think there are a lot of other players that are in the same position as me. You know it’s going to be tough to get after it when we get going here; but if it goes longer, I might have to check out some European options, just to get playing, get some games in. But I’m really keeping my fingers crossed that this thing gets done in the next few weeks here.

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JG: Right now you’re skating in Dallas with about 22 or 23 other NHL guys. How often are you skating, and how hard is it to test yourself and stay fresh in essentially a game of shinny?

DD: Well, that’s why I came here. This camp is very good, similar to the camp that was held in Vail a few weeks ago, and there’s a pretty elite group of players out here. We played some five on five yesterday with whistles and play stoppages, and we played three 12 minute periods, so we’re trying to structure it a little bit. Obviously, there’s no hitting, and it’s never going to be the same as a game, but you try to get a little bit of structure there. Other than this camp, it’s difficult. You play summer hockey, it’s shinny. Some days are good, some days are bad as far as motivation factor for guys because it just gets tough as it drags on. And like I said, that’s why if it continues to drag, I might have to look at some options overseas.

JG: You mentioned it’s a pretty good group of guys. Any NHL snipers shooting on you which likely would test you more than some of the fourth line guys?

DD: Oh, yeah, there’s quite a few here. I don’t really have a list to give you, but Crosby and James Neal and Kunitz are here from the Penguins. There’s a bunch of Dallas guys here. Souray is here, hitting pucks pretty hard, some a bit too high (laughs). There’s a good group of skaters and a good list of guys, so it certainly is challenging this week.

JG: Has your agent looked into Europe, and how hard is it for a North American goalie to find work in Europe?

DD: It’s extremely difficult. I still don’t believe there are any North American goalies that have gone over there, so that kind of shows you that it’s not that easy to get over there. We’ve continued to look into options over there. Like I said, you end up with kind of minimal options, and you want to make it that if you do pack up and go over there, that it’s going to be a good situation and a good league and on a good team. That’s the most important thing.

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And then obviously the insurance coverage becomes an issue as to who would be willing to cover it. So it’s not an easy thing, and we’ve been looking into it. I’m really hoping that I’m not going to have to explore it, but I’m not sure.

JG: What about the East Coast league? Scott Gomez is playing in Anchorage again. It’s closer to home, it’s on the same continent; would you look at that?

DD: Well, I don’t think the insurance would be able to be covered, unfortunately. I think I’d end up paying a pretty good chunk of money out of my pocket to cover my contract, so that doesn’t really make sense.

JG: Lately there have been some Luongo rumors; and I’m sure when the game’s on, you don’t focus on it too much, but have you heard about that? How do you respond to that? Because right now, you don’t really have an option to say, "I’ll prove everybody wrong that I can be a starter."

DD: You know what? I haven’t even heard the Luongo rumors to be completely honest. What are they?

JG: They are just saying Edmonton’s one of the three or four teams he would actually be interested in going to, allegedly, according to a report out of Vancouver.

DD: Okay. I would like to think that Edmonton has a lot of confidence in me. We spoke about it over the summer with them showing that with the new contract, and I certainly think that they’ll give me a pretty good shot before going down a road like that.

JG: You’ve said you’re confident that a deal can be had within the next few weeks. The original proposals from the NHL started out with a 24 percent rollback, and then they came back at 17%, now down to 12.5%, so they’ve kind of cut it in half. Does that leave you confident that there’s room to maneuver? And based on your conversations and the conference calls you’ve had, do you feel that there’s progress being made and that ultimately this will end?

DD: Sometimes I think there is, and sometimes I’m not sure. I think it’s become pretty frustrating for the players, especially this last proposal, and then last night having our request to meet with the league being shut down. They just don’t seem to be willing to really negotiate. It seems that every few weeks, they come to the table with an offer that’s a little bit less or I guess they call it a movement towards us but really it’s just kind of offering us to take a little bit less.

And when we offer to talk about it I feel if there was truly some motivation to negotiate, that you start looking at structure and then you start talking about different numbers. That’s what a negotiation is. You say, "We want this"; and then they come back and say, "No, we want this"; and then you start going back and forth. It’s not just put in an offer and sit on it and refuse to talk unless we want to take it. That’s been the most frustrating part.

JG: I think there are 13 pay periods over the course of the year. At the end of the month, that’d be two down. So there are only 11 to go. That’s money that guys won’t recoup back. Do guys sit down and crunch the numbers and look and say, "Well, maybe ultimately if we want no rollback, then maybe if we take a 5 percent rollback in the big picture, cause it benefits us long term"? What’s the thought process right now amongst most of the players?

DD: That’s something that the PA and the players are constantly calculating. It’s something that you’re right, it does make sense how much are you willing to stand out for and you have to calculate it against the pay cheques lost. But I think the biggest thing, and especially for fans that I don’t think the average person looks into or understands too much is the other parts of the CBA.

We’ve said that we want to find a way to get down to 50, and we’ve shown that, but they refuse to budge on every other part which is pretty much our contracting rights and our negotiating rights when it comes down to contracts, and those are things we accepting the salary cap and the role back last time those are the things that the players fought for and gained. So it’s not just the money that they’re trying to take; they’re trying to take away everything that the players gained out of the last CBA. That’s really what they’re sitting on right now. It is the money, but I think there’s quite obviously a deal to be made as far the money goes, but we need to talk about the other things as well.

JG: When an offer does come in that the NHLPA likes does the whole union vote, or is it the representatives and you essentially vote on behalf of the other players on the Oilers?

DD: Yes. As a representative, I would basically hold the vote, the Oilers vote, so it would be my job to speak with everybody and make sure everybody’s on board. But everybody’s welcome on conference calls, and we’re always in touch. So I think when an offer is ready to be made, I’m sure it will be pretty unanimous. Don will let us know if he thinks it’s the best offer that we can find.

JG: What piqued your interest in wanting to be a player rep for your team?

DD: It’s kind of a funny situation. I just said I’d tag along and help out this year and so I was kind of following around Gilbert, who was our rep, and Horc, who was our assistant, so I would kind of go to the different meetings and keep informed with those guys. I don’t think Gilbert wanted to continue to be the rep, so I was going to kind of work my way in there over the next year or so. But the trade deadline came, and unfortunately we lost Gibby, and I got kind of thrown into it. So it was a quick learning experience. I had to make sure I was educated about everything real quick.

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    DD must be so frustrated with the slow pace of negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA – he dmust be shaking his FIST at both Don and Gary!

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    Man this was a brutal read. It sounds like the players take Fehr’s word like he is a messiah. Dubnyk didnt even have ONE question for the whole league because Fehr is that good at conveying information. Not a chance Fehr would be biased and skew the information for the players…

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    If you are standing firm on a principle with respect to contracting and negotiating rights why would you need to be calculating payday losses? It’s about solidarity regarding the principle isn’t it? OH! I get it. There is always a price to pay for principle. We’ll stand firm, arm in arm until, until, aw screw that. The price of solidarity is too high. Good thing the players are ready to show the owners who’s boss. Good grief!

  • oilabroad

    2/13 paychecks is 15%, but they wouldn’t go for the 12.5% rollback… glad to see Fehr is doing his job…

    obviously the 12.5% would be every year of the contract that they play, but when you factor in the FA’s and guys with one year left on their deals, coupled with the 50% who will play less than 100 games in their entire career, it starts to look self defeating pretty quickly. Quite honestly the bloodsucking agents negotiating on their players behalf without the union would be a far better solution to this problem.

    • If the league hadnt have lost games one might assume a growth in revenue as well. So losing 12.5% would also eventually be offset by the growth in HRR as a whole.

      It is really bad advice to fall on this sword.

      That doesnt even begin to cover how ridicilous the PA sounds when they spout off about honouring contracts. As if the NHL was actually rolling salaries back like they did last time. The contracts will be honoured fully, and so would the CBA. Thus that 12.5% would be taken out of their escrow.

      The players and ownwers formed a partnership based on a % of HRR. The owners got 43%, that’s the same 43% that when offered to the players this summer caused everybody to freak out. Now everyone agrees that 50/50 is the way forward but the players dont want their salaries tied to a % of HRR until it benefits them some time in the mythical future. They want face value payment of contracts.

      Well, that isnt how their contracts have worked for the better part of a decade. Why would they expect it now? Why is the partnership only something they want when it’s convenient for them?

      Can you tell which side I’ve chosen?

      • book¡e


        have read a couple of your blogs and mostly all our posts on ON. always a good read. also, i always find them dumbed down enough for a guy like me to read them and understand.

        good post. can’t props you, but i would.

        i might not be saying this if i, as well, didn’t think the players were a bunch of dolts.

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    I’ve kind of had this impression before from hearing Dubnyk talk that he has a bit of a pride/ego thing. I’m not sure if it’s the tone or some of the statements he makes. Like the comments above, I find it interesting that he wouldn’t have a single question for the Oilers and that he seems to imply that the other Oilers players shouldn’t be getting information from anyone besides him and Fehr. I also find it interesting that he suggests he understands the CBA better than fans, yet in his brief discussion about it, he doesn’t display any knowledge–all he shows is a complete adherence to the Fehr Gospel.

    Now that stuff doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, but he was pretty quick to toss aside the suggestion to play in the ECHL, even though he admits there isn’t much opportunity elsewhere, and the reason he cites is because he’d have to pay his own insurance costs. Uhhh, sounds kind of greedy to me for someone who just signed on to a huge pay increase. I mean, it’s playing more important than the fact that you won’t be making much money? You aren’t making any right now. I’d like to think getting game action so you can become a solid NHL starting goalie option is the most important thing.

    • Eulers

      I think DD is saying that the insurance costs would exceed his ECHL salary by a fair bit. Refusing to pay to play seems reasonable to me. In his interviews, I’ve found DD to be grounded.

      • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

        Hmmm, not that I’m comparing myself to Devon Dumbdick, but I pay to play in my beer league (well they don’t allow beer any more) cause I love the aspects of the game. I’d pay to give myself the best shot at being an NHL starting goalie, and all the aspects and money that go with it, but that’s just me. Stupid game lover.

        • ubermiguel

          So you’re suggesting this 26-year-old-newly-wed-NHL-calibre-goalie should go play in some third-rate league in the middle of nowhere, riding the bus between games, staying at crappy hotels, pay more for his insurance than he makes in salary, and risk career-ending injury all because he loves the game?

  • oilabroad

    I worked for a company where my job was unionized. I was a representative and went to the AGM’s and other union based events. Over the course of my ten years of work, what I noticed was: THE UNION BELIEVES WHAT THEY WANT TO AND CAN’T SEE THE OTHER SIDE EVEN IF IT MAKES MORE SENSE. If they are stuck with old school dogma, this will be a long wait. How long has Fehr been working as a PA advisor? I’m not impressed, I loved watching hockey! Will it ever come back?

    • Thanks for having the guts to say the truth about the Unions attitude,because it is universal.Unions are just groups of bullies representing a small special interest group of individuals,they DO NOT HELP EverMan and EveryWoman,AT ALL.

      I think it is time to disband Unions in totality–they simple encourage class dicrimination,they fight for higher wages and better working conditions for only a few paying customers–that they call members,this is not right.Like paid gangsters.One Union for all workers or no union for any workers,because this big group of little gangs is nothing but trouble.

      If Dubby hasnt heard of any Louongo rumors,its significant,either he is not paying enough attention,or he has been intentionally kept in the dark.Dubby and Louongo would make a fearsome tandem in the NHL.I hope we see them side by side,split the games and ride the hot hand into the playoffs like Fuhr and Moog used to do.Once the team commits to high octane offense the goaltenders either lose their attitude or leave,but one thing is for sure they dont bicker about number of games played when they are being coated with rubber game in and game out.Both men end up in the same boat,and it can work really really well if simply winning is their tandem goal.It isnt healthy to play the stats game on an offensive team.Its better to keep it simple with just Ws and Ls being considered.And once you get to that point as a goalie then number of games played and who is a starter no longer become important,just winning games becomes important.Coming in out of the black rain of rubber with 2 point becomes the most important thing you can do.

  • Oil Bog

    Aside from all this NHL/ NHLPA/ CBA stuff I just purchased my tickets to watch the Barons in Abbotsford November 9 and 10. Can’t wait for this lockout to end!

  • 24% body fat

    I am for getting the deal done and hold both parties responsible.

    NHLPA for doing what unions always do…….bite the hand that feeds them.

    NHL teams for signing STUPID deals to UFA and driving salaries up, and then complaining about it.

    Case in point Suter and Praise…….NYR signing whatever high profile UFA’s are available and still not winning the cup! Just when will these teams figure out you cannot buy a cup with UFA’s……..there is never any chemistry with shuttling in players after a big paycheck!

  • book¡e

    I like Devon, he seems like a genuine guy, who wants to prove himself to be able to carry this team. However this interview was quite possibly the worst thing he could do at this time. He came off sounding uninformed and someone simply following his cult leaders every word.

    I agree with just about every comment on this thread about Unions and their refusal to see anything but their own view.

    The NHLPA should be forced to take a math class to show what they are losing and will never gain back. I’d also like to know how reading thru the NHL offer and sending back 3 of your own completely unrelated offers is considered negotiating? The NHLPA is so far up its own a$$, its no wonder they don’t see its all slipping away from them.

    I love hockey and the Oilers, but I really hope the owners stick to their guns. If it takes 1 year, 2 years, then so be it. I’m sick of the entitlement that the NHLPA displays.

  • 24% body fat

    I am also tired of this “they took hockey away from us” crap. The owners have put three offers on the table, so they have given the opportunity to play. I’m not saying the deal was fair or they should take it but this whoas me crap is irritating.

    That and Alan Walsh should be muzzled. He is turning people against players daily. And don fehr saying why didn’t they table this best offer first Ian laughable too.

    I was slightly pro player before and had thought along the lines of the players last offer should be fair but all this rhetoric is brutal. Now I’m more for the owners making more on their 200M-1B investment than players getting their share. Both sides brought us here, the owners with irresponsibility and they are both idiots.

  • 24% body fat

    I’ve come to the point where I would rather have no NHL this season than a 50/50 split.
    Players have been spoiled for way too long..now they think they deserve it all when other leagues are at 50/50 or less (even baseball where there is no cap)..
    Owners have no reason to accept getting only 50 percent then with that 50 percent pay for all the players travel costs, equipment, salaries, etc..

    I will enjoy watching prospects this season..and hopefully the players will eventually see the reality of this situation..
    Yes there were some crazy contracts handed out just before the lockout..it was for two reasons..

    1)players knew the CBA was ending and would likely receive less in the future so they and their agents milked every cent they could get..
    2)a handful of owners were able to afford this..so they did this, that does not represent the entire league. They also used this to their advantage knowing there would be a rollback..it goes both ways..

    Next year I hope the owners propose a 40% PA, 60% Owners split..final offer.

  • book¡e

    Pssst Devin. Fehr is an ego maniac who just wants to ‘win’ even if it means that the players will never recuperate the money they lose. Also, 70% of your team would be happy to settle now, but the Union guys in the league are pretty intense and kind of pounce on anyone who does anything like ‘think’ about things and challenge the union line.

    The whole system is set to shut down any real discussion or debate amongst players.

  • Oil Bog

    What are you 10? Dubnyk, yeah that’s his name, has no reason to risk his future paying to play in the ECHL. Do you have any clue what he would have to pay for insurance vs what his income would be? No, me neither.

  • book¡e

    Do these NHL players have a sniff… DD if you follow Jonathon Bernier signed in Germany 3 weeks to a months ago… For all the informative information the players say they do, they sure dont communicate or observe what is happening with the league… I’m a fan of Dubnyk and feel he has potential to be a solid tender for the oil but a raise from 800 000 to 3.5 mil and he has yet to be a starter or prove himself as a consistent 1A option in the NHL, come one no wonder there is a lockout

  • Muji

    I like Devan Dubnyk, but I like him less after reading this.

    1. Why does he feel that he’s entitled to the #1 job here? – “I would like to think that Edmonton has a lot of confidence in me.”
    – Is it because he beat out an injured and over-the-hill Khabibulin? Keep in mind that it took him 2 seasons to do so.
    – Is it because he outlasted Jeff Deslauriers?
    – Is it because he managed to (finally) scrap together a good 30 or so games towards the end of last season (after very inconsistent play before)?
    – Is it because he’s lead the Oilers to any type of success (because they’ve finished 30,30,29 with him).

    2. He’s blindly following Fehr – “Don does a very good job of informing us exactly what the proposals are and what theirs are, what they mean, and what they would mean for us”, “Don will let us know if he thinks it’s the best offer that we can find.”, etc.
    – That’s bad enough, but it also sounds like he expects his teammates to blindly follow him too. Wow.

    3. He’s not experienced AT ALL at being a #1 goalie nor an NHL rep (“and I got kind of thrown into it.”).

    4. He acknowledges that this year is a BIG year for him, but – a few enquiries from his agent aside – it doesn’t sound like he’s doing much to get in any meaningful game time.

    Yikes. DD would be mistaken to think that he’s lock to be part of our core (Hall, Eberle, Nuge, Nail, etc.) going forward. He still needs to earn it.

  • book¡e


    “…2. He’s blindly following Fehr – “Don does a very good job of informing us exactly what the proposals are and what theirs are, what they mean, and what they would mean for us”, “Don will let us know if he thinks it’s the best offer that we can find.”, etc. – That’s bad enough, but it also sounds like he expects his teammates to blindly follow him too. Wow.”

    Wow! You are correct. But why wouldn’t he drink Fehr’s Kool-Aid, just as the NHL owners are drinking Bettman’s Kool-Aid and loving it?

    It’s negotiations! Who’s Kool-Aid are you drinking? Sounds like the billionaire’s. How do you like Katz’ Kool-Aid so far?

    • GVBlackhawk

      Because Fehr is representing professional athletes, he has much more influence than Bettman does on his employers. The players excel at playing hockey, not business, math, and law. Conversely, the NHL owners have an army of financial experts and lawyers who confer with Bettman during the negotiating process. I guarantee you each owner knows the specifics of current negotiations.

      If asked the same question as Dubnyk was, you would not get a response from Darryl Katz along the lines of “Gary will let us know if he thinks it’s the best offer that we can find”.

  • 1. Wondering why the illustrious Captn. Horcoff, is not the team Rep. for the union?.

    2. Unrelated, but I have a curious question: Would like to know , with escrows etc, are players paid directly by the team or do their pay checks come via the NHL office?

    Anyone? Thanks

  • Is this really the way the NHLPA gets information to its players? By word of mouth from “player reps”?

    It reminds me of that Telephone game where you tell someone something and they pass it on and they pass it on again and again. Eventually the message gets screwed up.

    What sense does it make to have player reps giving info to their teammates? What if they leave out something? What if they missed something on the conference call?

    Seems like a great way to deal out misinformation and/or have a clueless union.

    …Maybe that’s what they want.

    • It’s hard to believe that these conference calls cant be loaded on the NHLPA’s website and accessed only by members.

      I know the players appear to be living be living in 2004, but it really is 2012. We have the technology to make this happen.

  • Thank God I read this article! I was beginning to worry about the well-being of their families.

    Meanwhile Dubnyk and the reality of him becoming an actual starting NHL net minder is waiving bye-bye and the fringe NHL players may start actually hurting soon.. But you guys make sure to stand with the premier players because they care about you to…. LOL!

    See this is the part I side with the owners. Less and less empathy for players now …..
    $80,000.00 Escrow payment for every million, so even the guys who can barely play are getting cheques for 40,000.00 today? Which is what a great majority of people make in a year.

    Which even with escrow payments Horcoff-Gomez-and Komisarek are still way over paid!

    I Love how the players say they stay united, yet the good players go overseas to make money and play, but less talented players who might need the money soon stay behind and wait for what boils down to the richer players wanting to keep it ALL.

  • Greg Stink | ESPN

    Hey Gregor, Vancouver Oilers fans, and Oilersnation,

    Upcoming OKC Barons game vs Abbotsford Heat! (Sat Nov 10). Obviously it would be great to go to the Nov 10 and Nov 11 games in Abbotsford. But for those that want to watch it in Vancouver, I just contacted the Black Frog Pub in Gastown (the pub that plays every Oilers game on a projection screen with sound). They will be playing the Nov 10th game on Sportsnet. Come on down and wear your Jerseys! They even have bleachers.

    I don’t work for them, I just live in Van and watch games there…