Aug 30, 2012, 10:59 AM EDT
Whichever side is “right” in the NHL’s labor dispute, we know this much is true – unlike the lead-up to the 2004-05 lockout that canceled an entire season, the large majority of fans are on the players’ side of the dispute.
In a recent PHT poll, 82 percent of respondents said they support the NHLPA versus the owners.
The Globe and Mail’s Bruce Dowbiggin suggested public opinion was the reason the league presented its latest proposal to the players.
“[NHL commissioner Gary] Bettman and his bosses have discovered in the last two weeks that they’ve overplayed their hand with the public,” wrote Dowbiggin.
Of course, others have argued the NHL’s new proposal doesn’t mark any progression in the negotiations whatsoever.
One fan is even pushing a “fan strike” if there’s no agreement by Sept. 15 when the current CBA expires.
All are admirable pursuits, but can fans really do anything to advance negotiations? Do the owners and players even care what the paying customer thinks, or do they just assume the fans will come back whenever the puck drops?
Bettman has said the NHL recovered from the last lockout “because we have the world’s greatest fans.”
Wrote Dowbiggin in another column, “The commish meant this as a compliment, of course. An honest reading of this beauty is more like: ‘If you fans weren’t such doormats, I might be worried.’”
NHLPA chief Donald Fehr sure seems to think public opinion is worth fighting for. Why else would the players keep hammering the “we’re not the ones talking lockout, that’s the owners” angle when speaking to the media? That may be true, but there’s no doubt the repetition is part of a planned PR strategy. One, we should add, that’s been quite successful so far.
OK, so let’s get to the poll question.
- Julien thinks diving crackdown is ‘step in the right direction’ 21
- Holland doesn’t see Babcock deal by start of season 5
- Risk Factors: Pittsburgh Penguins edition 4
- PHT Morning Skate: Flyers bringing back Ice Girls 9
- Dillon’s agent: Discussions with Stars are ‘frustrating and disappointing’ 7
- NHL shoots down Tkachev’s contract with Edmonton 9
- NHL Board of Governors approves Islanders sale 6
- Johansen, Blue Jackets talks haven’t just resumed, they’re ‘very polite’ 14
- Speedy recovery: Giroux (lower body) to play vs. Rangers tonight 12
- Risk Factors: Boston Bruins edition 13
- Jordan Subban has ‘moved on’ after ‘unfortunate’ photo caption by Vancouver papers (52)
- Players pushed for coaching fines because they were ‘encouraged’ to dive (34)
- Sabres’ Nolan, Avalanche don’t believe in analytics (32)
- Ouch: Datsyuk (separated shoulder) out 4-5 weeks (27)
- Spooner scores, but coach Julien’s not happy (23)