Throughout the NHL lockout, Commissioner Gary Bettman kept owners informed on the status of negotiations with the players union via blanket emails from deputy Bill Daly.

However, after the league made a comprehensive offer on a new collective bargaining agreement to the NHLPA on Dec. 27 that jump-started stalled talks, those emails suddenly stopped and left members of the Board of Governors not directly involved in the negotiations in the dark, according to a source. Only after one member of the board sent an email to league hierarchy asking to be kept up-to-date on the situation did they resume.

That is in stark contrast to the barrage of information NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr gave players throughout the monthslong process. Through emails, a phone app and face-to-face meetings, Fehr made sure each of the 700-plus members of the union were informed on every step of the negotiations.

"His big thing was making sure everybody knew exactly what's going on," former Blackhawks and current Capitals winger Troy Brouwer said. "Hiring him to represent the players association was the best move that we've made as a PA for a long time. He did exactly what he said he was going to do when we were looking to hire him.

"(Fehr) did everything the players asked of him. When the players wanted to move on things he was willing to move on things. When the players wanted to really hold onto something he made sure we did."

Fehr helped stabilize a union that was in disarray after the firing of Paul Kelly in the wee hours Aug. 31, 2009, at a Chicago hotel after players questioned his leadership. Fehr, former head of the Major League Baseball Players Association, was voted in as executive director Dec. 18, 2010, and since has impressed players with his experience, knowledge and communication.